Many bands claim to be unclassifiable, most are wrong. But Portland’s Cark makes unpredictability a core value.
“We get complacent when we know what to expect all the time. The whole point of keeping art vital is to try something new, to confuse people,” said Josh Gross, who fronts the band and is also a PSU student.
The name of Cark’s latest album, SUPERHELLAMEGAEPIC, seems an apt description for a band that transitions seamlessly from speed metal to an only half ironic cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.”
If Cark’s aim to keep their audience on their toes than they succeed in more ways than one; for a raucous two-piece that is firmly rooted in metal, Cark is undeniably catchy and most of all, fun. Audiences regularly oscillate between lighthearted moshing and ’80s-style dancing.
“Music doesn’t have to be a joke to be funny,” Gross said. “It can be rock music and still be fun.”
And indeed Cark are hilarious, but somehow they remain earnest and passionate about the onslaught of pop riffs and cowbells that erupts from stage during their live set.
Even though Cark is a unique experience, they have retained the rock ethos. Gross said that he is sick of what he calls snoozecore. “When rock started it was about being loud and energetic. It scared people because it was so fun, it was this uncontrollable energy,” he said. “We just love to play and we don’t give a shit about what anyone thinks about it.”
Carks live show is engaging and awe inspiring. On songs like “The Standing Drummer,” they manage to simultaneously jab their tongues in their cheeks and kick fucking ass.
Drummer Dustin Wasserman, who is a Portland state grad, is one of the city’s most energetic and inventive percussionists. And despite Cark’s deliberate distance from Portland’s thriving indie-pop scene, in many ways the standing drummer ranks among Talkdemonic’s Kevin O’Connor and Menomena’s Danny Seim as one of Stumptown’s most fun drummers to see live.
Check out Carks’ new album online at www.tinglefinger.com/cark.