Cain Marko, At Sea
Ah, damn… Even now, decades on from that first time when the love was kindled inside my heart for heavy-yet-melodic guitars that are raw but beautiful at the same time, thoughtful lyrics yelled/howled like nothing else mattered, and pounding, jagged, start-stop rhythms, I still get a shiver up my spine every time I hear music like that.
Call it emo or indie-rock or post-punk, whatever, it’s what I stumbled into when my teenage love of metal came tumbling down, and it opened my eyes and made me see that music could be loud, fast, and distorted and still mean something sincere and honest beyond political posturing. It’s honestly been the most enduring musical love I’ve known.
So, short though it is, Cain Marko’s four-song At Sea EP presses all those just-right buttons for me, grabbing some twisty, Braid-like guitar lines from over here and some turbulent Jawbreaker chords from over there and adding ’em to a heavy dose of Hot Water Music fury (not to mention frontman/guitarist Jeremy Verwys’ rough-edged vocals, which I can’t help but liken to HWM’s Chuck Ragan’s), a fistful of Avail-esque yell-along defiance, and a hint of post-hardcore structure (think A Wilhelm Scream) to make things interesting. This Michigan foursome sound like they’ve practically been secretly raiding my record collection, I swear.
The end result is guitar-heavy, raw-throated, emo-impassioned melodic punk that makes you want to cry quietly into your beer for all the girls and friends and whatever else you’ve lost, then shake it off and lift your head (and fist) high in the air, not giving a damn who sees it. It’s awesome and heroic and serious and unashamed, and yeah, it’s pretty much perfect. Thanks, you guys; you made my week, right there.