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Bleeding Songs Julian Marszalek , July 7th, 2014 09:34

There exists a neon-lit demimonde of late night bars, rain spattered streets, sleaze and danger where unmade beds in lonely rooms are encrusted with dried out bodily fluids and the walls are splattered with blood. The wrong word at the wrong time brings the pervading threat of violence even closer while the voices in your head scream ever louder to taunt, tease and torment. Welcome then, to the world of Lark.

Ostensibly the musical vehicle for frontman and abstract artist Karl Bielik, Lark are that rare breed of band that creates and inhibits an environment entirely of their own making that's at once wholly believable and utterly terrifying. This isn't a place you'd especially want to live in but the visits offered here prove to be exhilarating and so your chances of survival remain favourable. Electrifying gigs in and around their East London base have revealed the sort of well-dressed gentlemen who kiss their aging mothers goodbye before putting on their knuckle dusters for a friendly word here and there around their local manor.

The band's attitude to instrumentation is akin to a wife swapping party, one that ensures a forward moving sound that gleefully collides pumping electronics with low rumbling bass guitars, dampened chords and fizzing menace. At the centre of this maelstrom is the marshalling figure of Bielik, who hollers and growls his way with all the urgency of a soak seeking his next drink after realising that the bathroom's aftershave is a little more than a mere aperitif.

It's a heady and potent concoction, one that makes Bleeding Songs the band's most fully formed album to date. Recorded over an intense two-day period, the sense of urgency and nagging mood of claustrophobia is palpable throughout. Dread permeates opener 'Still You Blink' like H.P. Lovecraft set to music while the chugging rhythms and stutters of 'The Operation' are zapped in from the devil's own disco. Elsewhere, the yob rock of 'I Don't Get' gives way to the electro terrace stomp that drives 'The Mast' and this unholy blend of styles, pausing only to make nods to the afterhours surroundings of Tom Waits and Nick Cave's skewered romanticism, adds up to the deadliest of cocktails.

Serrated and frayed around the edges, Bleeding Songs oozes piss and vinegar with just the right amount of bar room charm to sweeten the pill. Have a taste – but beware the hangover.