Clark’s Secret Identity

Clark's Secret Identity

It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what style of music to which Clark’s Secret Identity belongs. The band’s name is perfectly fitting, as the exact identity of its musical genre seems to be a secret known only to its members. This is apparently intentional due to the group describing itself as “an experimental rock band that is hard to associate with any certain subgenre.” Although the band admits to being primarily influenced by progressive rock, it includes aspects of several other rock genres to its repertoire. Clark’s Secret Identity is a trio of musicians from Mechanicsburg, Pa., which released its debut EP in December 2015. This first release is a brief one at only four tracks. Although it may be difficult, I will try my best to describe these recordings without making any comparisons to other bands.

1982 Like the Northern Star begins with what one would assume to be the band members talking about the sort of sound they’re trying to achieve. This ends quickly and suddenly with the intro of a chaotic, jam-band style guitar riff. The abrupt change to this sporadic riff will catch you off guard. This hippie-jam vibe quickly ends when the verse begins and turns the mood to melancholy. The overall mood swings back and forth throughout the track with the change in riffs. The group even shows off a bit of funk rock influence beginning at 3:53. Some groovy keyboard effects are thrown in here. The mood again changes with a climbing riff which features quite a bit of alternate picking. An ominous echoing effect is used on the vocals near in the last verse. The song returns to the chorus once more before gloomily coming to an end. Needless to say, there are a lot of different things to be heard while listening to this song.

Next up is Useless Light; the song seems to be about decrying the current state of the music industry. The lyrics read: “The brother in the suburbs trades integrity for album streaming, pocket change, and mediocrity. The journey of acceptance cost him everything, when the heat of the desert sun dried the creative spring.” Musically, the rhythm section on this track stands out much more than on the first track as the guitar is used sparingly in the verse. However, this technique allows for the keyboard to stand out as well. There are times when the keyboard sounds like a standard Grand Piano and others times in which it sounds like a Sitar due to effects.

Adventures at the Unit 2 Reactor is a free and uninhibited instrumental. Just like the first track, the song has many different riffs and elements. The keyboard sounds strikingly digital, sounding similar to an ‘80s Nintendo game. It seems as if the group just let the music flow out naturally, allowing it to go where it will on this tune. The instrumentation is dynamic but doesn’t sound contrived.

That brings us to the EP closer, Unwilling, which is a dark tune that could almost pass for music one would hear at a funeral. Female choir vocals are heard at the beginning, and later on in the recording an organ can be heard as well. Although, the bluesy guitar licks make it a bit inappropriate for something played at a funeral.

After the piano solo in the bridge, a heavily overdriven guitar chimes in making for an astonishingly Grunge rock sound. This noisy commotion only lasts for a little more than a minute until fading back to choir vocals and haunting piano work for the outro.

This music is difficult to define and truly unpredictable. It’s undoubtedly rock, there’s no question about that, but even after listening to it, I’m still wondering as to the specific category. If you’re curious, and I would guess at this point you might be, take a listen and decide for yourself.

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