Arks | The International (Highwheel)

The International is guitar-driven, jagged and danceable, right from the declarative first track. I started singing along right away, always a good sign.

 

 

According to their press release, Arks began in 2002 as a trio, with bassist Mat Biscan, drummer Bo Altes and singer/guitarist Paul Hornschemeier in a Ukranian Village apartment, defining their sound based on Hornschemeier's four -recordings.

Altes has since been replaced by Glenn Rischke. Lanny Oswalt now plays guitar. And by the time you read this, the four-piece Arks will have celebrated their Aug. 16 release party at eclectic, Wicker Park venue Subterranean for their first full-length album The International. A hell of a party, I'm sure. Because The International is guitar-driven, jagged and danceable, right from the declarative first track. Which, incidentally, brought Bloc Party to mind. I started singing along right away, always a good sign.

But I'm not going to lie to you, the lyrics get bizarre. Check out the fourth song, "Maritime Snakes." Hornschemeier laments, "S.S. takes stock of his appendages, full stop/ And he can't afford the rent/ But these legs are sharply dressed, gauzed indigent/ and he's off to coalesce/ What fine shoes to tramp the cobbler's note!" What the…?

I have no idea what that's all about. But I don't really care, I'm digging Arks. Especially "Safe and Sound." Hornschemeier starts out low and ominous, like Peter Murphy, then leaps to the range of Ian McCullough, all with a moody bass line that would feel right at home on Interpol's set list. Cool. A- | Rebecca Reardon

RIYL: Sonic Youth, Wire, Bloc Party

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