Barkmarket – Lardroom EP

4 out of 5

Label: American

Producer: D. Sardy

So correct me if I’m wrong, but I think John Nowlin has at least one track on every Barkmarket record.  And it’s not that they’re bad tracks at all, but they are markedly different from what surrounds them, taking the kitchen-sink of sounds of Barkmarket and stripping it of its aggression, pushing it more into oddball no-wave territory.  The lyrics sport a similar sarcasm to Sardy’s (I’m too lazy to check liner notes right now to see who writes the lyrics on those tracks), but it’s interesting how they feel much less effective when they’re not being shouted at yeah by Dave’s hefty bellow.  ‘L.Ron’ makes good use of the Nowlin track to introduce the conclusion of the disc, giving your ears a breather.  Gimmick is veritably split in two by it, and the latter half of the disc always seems like a collection of less notable songs because of it.  Compress that feeling to the Lardroom EP.  At only 5 tracks, Nowlin’s song right in the middle practically kills all of the momentum.  Which is a fucka’ shame because these are all of the propulsive, funky elements of Bark boiled down to 3 minute gems.  Opening with the rocker ‘I Drown,’ which finds a nice balance between the rougher soundscape of ‘Gimmick’ but mixes it with L.Ron’s straight-forward composition sense, the EP then, appropriately, eh, digs in to the funky, building ‘Dig In.’  On the other side of Nowlan’s ‘Pushing Air’ is another rocker ‘Little White Dove,’ which doesn’t stand out as much as the intro tracks but is a solid groove nonetheless, before finishing with the solid ‘Johnny Shiv.’

The lardroom EP is a perfect way to test the waters for Barkmarket.  ‘Vegas Throat’ from a few years prior is probably still a bit too out there in comparison, but the more easily found ‘Gimmick’ and ‘L.Ron’ albums are easy sells if you dig what’s here.  ‘Pushing Air’ would’ve worked fine as a closer; it’s a shame that it cuts this mini up the way it does, preventing it from being the perfect slice of junk rock it dreams to be.  (…as all albums dreams to be…)

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