Posted on October 4th, 2018
[as seen on The Alternative]
Kal Marks‘ booming and beautiful Universal Care only sounds better as the hell year rages on. The Boston trio’s latest combs the matted nest of nihilism for glints of the mythic humanity, a sense of meaning in the most fatalistic of modern times. They’re not the only ones desperately mining for hope, but no other band of their ilk (post-hardcore, indie-punk, shoegaze) has emulated the numbness of our daily lives the way they do on this record. Its muddiness recalls the bleak, perpetual daze of staring into our sickly news feeds. Its erratic alternations between ferocity and genuine yet fleeting awe capture the emotional binary that’s replaced our long-lost technicolor of feelings. But in its lyrics, they’re determined to use love—both banal and grandiose—as their reason to see out this era. “All error is reason to start again / It’s fun to pretend you’ll never end,” goes one of its most profound lines.
The title of the album’s closer, “Today I Walked Down to the Tree, Read a Book, and When I was Done I Went Back Inside,” presents the mundane as epic in order to acknowledge the pervasive cliche of its narrative: love is all you need. “That you are the one, there’s no other I want / and no other form of art can explain / but you always got me figured out,” sings vocalist Carl Shane with a frankness that supplants his poetic abilities. It’s a warm, sincere, and endlessly uplifting finale to an album that’s otherwise just sincere—and therefore mostly drab.
The song’s arc is innately cinematic, and now there’s an accompanying video that crystallizes its rare wholesomeness via quirky claymation. It was created by Carly Lieberman and you can, and should, watch it below: