September 14, 2016

EP: Prks - Prks

New Jersey's Prks lives up to its name.

In an interview with KEXP, Toronto alt-grunge band Dilly Dally rehashes its origins. Guitarist/vocalist Katie Monks and lead guitarist Liz Ball were best friends in high school and collaborated on covers before writing original material. The two would play in the park near their suburban family homes, sharing a bench while they explored their acoustic guitars and voices. New Jersey's Prks, whose debut EP was released in June, doesn’t sound much like Dilly Dally. But they do live up to their name. These three songs, with their sparse instrumentation and gentle, introspective vocals, convey the soundtrack to where Dilly Dally first developed their own sound — park bench, youth.

The first track, “Cake,” opens with a skittering, downward-scaling guitar riff. Then vocalist and lyricist Mikaela Itkin-Weinstein enters, her harmonic layers floating on fuzzy guitars, bare-bones drums, and a steady thrum of bass, all played by Sam Unger, who is responsible for the writing and performance of the instrumentation throughout the record. This song’s title suggests a child’s birthday party; its lyrics, though, express exhaustion with the persistent and incredible passing of years. Itkin-Weinstein sings, "Every year I am surprised" — the last syllable is drawn out until it resembles a pained cry — "surprised that I have made it this far / ... I don't know if I'm impressed or disappointed." The sentiment suits a viewpoint of advancing maturity as well as it does one of adolescent angst, and it reminds me of a line from Krill's "Brain Problem": "I can't believe I made it to twenty-three without a scratch on me." Sometimes just reaching adulthood feels unimaginable. "Cake" proves to be the peppiest of these three songs; the second, "Die 2," is about as grim as its title would lead you to believe and dabbles in mortality. The line "I'm just a stupid kid / I know I'm gonna die too," concludes the song, melding childish sentiments with very adult subject matter. The final track on the EP, "I Don't Mind", turns tender by tackling love. Lines like "You deserve the best / Cups of coffee, people who care / I don't mean to make you feel scared," embrace the mundane matters and big-picture challenges whose sum makes up a life. They also set aside the self-centered concerns of the previous two tracks, instead offering support to another. Prks manages to tackle the life cycle, aging, and love in the span of 5 minutes, which is no easy feat. The EP is a exercise in clinging to youth but plunging forward anyhow, even if the prospect of adulthood is absolutely terrifying. As a consolation, at least Prks' can be our soundtrack in the meantime.


Listen to Prks on bandcamp.

Eileen Marshall spends 21% of her time in a library in a museum in Chicago. She's prone to feeling, obsessing, and tweeting. Sometimes she tries to write beyond 140 characters.