Thursday, June 9, 2011

Clark8 "Snooze" EP on Folktale Records

I keep forgetting to take a picture of the awesome art all over the cardboard mailer that Chris from Folktale did...serious sketches, and layers of paint... reminds me of Unread Records personal touches that aren't even a part of the album release. It makes you kind of realize how ridiculous clicking 'like' or confirming a 'friend' request is. I've never met Chris and here's a real, one of a kind effort. Getting records in the mail never gets old.

The color sleeve of this single of a giant spider climbing into a sleeping guys ear caught my attention right away because it's pretty much my worst nightmare. It's that Star trek movie with the bugs things that were in the helmet that ate into your brain? Thanks for reliving this nightmare Walt Gorecki...appreciate it.

Like the 5" from Folktale there's lots to go through....a Clark8 glossy postcard, xerox liner notes, lyrics and a download card from ( is the dead format...nice).

The A-Side from Clark8 starts out with "Snooze", the title track and this lyric, "Right before I go to bed I brush my teeth with a cigarette." The layered emotional vocals have seen a lot of....let's say....L.I.V.I.N. as Matthew McConaughey would say. Cleanly produced, crisp isolated vocals, and percussion, you can hear each pinging soprano tom hit. It's weirdly reminding me of the Verve Pipe type of alternative rock sound. I know...that's not even a genre anymore. The next track, "No purchase necessary" has some abstract imagery about a mirror, and the vocals on this entire effort are mixed way out in front. There's a folk moment with some serious fuzz that picks this track up into it's groove. They seem to want to work with comfortable low tempo grooves for vocalist Rich to get in there and flesh out his epic narrative.

"Push Down" on the B-Side has a harder rocking core with an emo, Promise Ring chorus sound that then changes gears completely into a rumbly little reggae mix. An almost synth guitar effect from the very beginning is back and a heavy rock comes around full circle. It's a jarring change, they're really running the gamut of styles for a song that seems to be about ending up at a mental hospital...and is improbably upbeat....but then again, maybe these changes are reflecting that schizophrenic, multiple personality of the character here...nicely played Clark8. I never thought I would say this but....checkmate to ME.
The final track, "Blue Widow" is another way too catchy song about weed and blow, which would really be enough to pull me in but then they go and deliver a spoken word section "...another missed connection in a craigslist ad", and "just txt me so that I can hit you back". I imagine this is coming from the character dead set on self destruction in the earlier verses, that sentiment clearly clashing with the sunny direction of the instrumentation.
There's no mystery to any of the sounds captured here, a huge amount of attention was spent on the details, you can hear it...down to the eclectic arrangement of styles and clever lyrics. They could share a bill with Kid Icarus quite nicely...that party rock, alternative sound.
Rich drives the rock storytelling feel of Clark8 with a lot to say across 4 songs on the EP, from asylums to cigarettes...mirrors to craigslist ad's, the kind of rock star life where you try to get you best material out of salvaging these messed up situations and heading into the rehearsal space to put every last thing down in that notebook.

The reverse of this sleeve looks like the victim from the front has arisen to a rainbow of that's at least positive for the protagonist...unless he's dead.

Get it from Folktale Records:

Had this record been made during the previous decade their is no doubt in our minds that it would have charted on alternative rock stations everywhere. Clark 8 brings you four new songs that are undeniably catchy and captured with warm perfection. Reminicent of mid-90's alternative rock/pop punk, these songs, despite being new recordings, will evoke some kind of nostalgia, and may even get you to start dusting off some of your CD (or cassette) collection you'd forgotten you had. These records were made in a pressing of 500 with 300 on black, 100 on transparent blue, and 100 on a mix of blue and white (think non-fat milk). They come with full color covers with art by Walt Gorecki and a lyric sheet as well as a download card for free MP3's of the record.

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