Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.
The Mark Inside are a born-again rock band. After amassing local cred with their considerably bananas live shows and releasing their debut Static/Crash via MapleMusic Recordings in ‘06, these Whitby boogie chillun found themselves in major label limbo, their sophomore disc scrubbed. But, by the great beard of Zeus, they’ve resurrected, inking a new deal with UK’s MetalBox Recordings. Helmed by MetalBox owner and Arctic Monkeys producer Jim Abbiss, False Flag (available via MapleMusic) is a six-song EP meant to whet our appetites until their long-awaited follow-up, Nothing To Admit, is released internationally in the spring of 2011 (via a licensing deal with Sony).
It’s fitting that this album was recorded in a converted Lancashire chapel from the 1700s, as retro-fetishism is a consistent trend here. Mechanically-paced opener “There Is Nothing To Admit” (streaming right) is half Stones-y swagger, half Stooges-y muscle with frontman Chris Levoir channeling Mark E. Smith’s strung-out talk-singing over top. Elsewhere, “House of Cards” lays down a bluesy slab of MC5-esque proto-punk, while “Lime Green Monkeys” is an angular, funky twitcher in the same vein as Gang of Four’s dance-rock. Despite the many nods to the past, the boys manage to put their own (ahem) mark on the sound with noisy, swelling breakdowns that increasingly unhinge as Levoir screams till his larynx bleeds.
At other points on the EP, however, The Mark Inside clean up the garage rawk grime to do the minty fresh, grown and sexy thang. First single “Can’t Take Her With You (When It’s Over)” is pure Oasis-esque Britpop—sunny melodies, strummy acoustics, sentimental gushiness and all; it’s a make-up-sex-provoking, springtime radio hit waiting to happen. Nonetheless, to avoid straying too far into diabetic territory, the band follows it up with “Shots From A Broken Bottle,” a spaghetti western–style slow-burner marrying reverb-laden whammy twang with Levoir’s howling, heartbroken-on-drugs diatribe.
False Flag is a well-rounded, well-rockin’ teaser proving that these dudes are anything but a bunch of marks. When Nothing To Admit drops in 2011, expect their efforts to finally pay big, loud dividends—good thing they didn’t roll over and get real jobs.