by Gemma Laurence
It’s been a big season for Pictoria Vark. Fresh off a tour playing bass for Squirrel Flower, the Jersey-raised/Iowa City-based indie artist just shared her first single in over a year and announced that she’s signed to Get Better Records. Moves are being made.
Her first single since 2020’s Good For, I Can’t Bike finds the indie songwriter/bassist reflecting on her trials with insecurity and self-doubt. ‘I’m feeling bad, but what for?’ Park asks as a wave of electric guitars build up behind her – nearly swallowing her whole. Asking questions that any artist (or person) can relate to, I Can’t Bike is an anthem for anybody battling against themselves. Broody, moody, and deeply personal, it feels like a page ripped out of Vark’s diary, but one you may have written yourself.
I Can’t Bike has a gritty DIY nature that harkens back to Vark’s earlier work, but the intricacy of her arrangements shows just how far she has come as an artist. As steady drums and bass pulse energetically beneath distorted guitar melodies, the singularity of Park’s vocals takes center stage, creating a raw conversational tone. Multi-layered and filled with gritty sonic textures and hidden melodies, I Can’t Bike is a feat unto itself.
Made with close friends and collaborators, Jason Ross (of Moon Sand Land) on guitar and Gavin Caine (who also co-produced the track) on drums, percussion, keys, and guitar, I Can’t Bike has a vastness to it that is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Culminating in an absolutely killer guitar solo, the song may not come to any real resolution (lyrically), but ends on a note of victory nonetheless. Triumphant and real, I Can’t Bike marks the start of a very exciting new chapter for Pictoria Vark. We’re excited to see what comes next.
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