Boston’s Kal Marks dive into their third album Life is Alright, Everybody Dies with an elongated instrumental build-up that reflects an improved mood compared to previous releases. In Life is Alright, vocalist Carl Shane cruises through humanity’s ups and downs, such as working in the service industry, experiencing death, and confronting an uncomfortable future. The album promises to hit the heartstrings of humans from every walk of life.
The minimal lyrics, though unfortunately often garbled, pack an emotional punch. In “Loneliness Only Lasts Forever,” Shane croons “They say some people / spend sometime alone.” But that’s really okay sometimes.
Throughout the album, the tracks are torn between cynical indifference and optimism, almost mimicking human emotions even without lyrics. The gloomy intermission lullaby, “It’s So Hard to Know How to Say Goodbye,” uses intonations and pauses to sing a song, supplying its own lyrics. The periods of melody with no words sounds intentional, as though listeners should fill in the blanks, waiting for the next song to start. Life is Alright is drawn out without feeling stagnant.
The sad aggression in “Dorothy” makes it one of the stronger tracks on the album. The cadence picks up at the chorus, where Shane’s emotion becomes palpable as he sings of evils that aren’t always obvious, before closing with a yell and a new beat that soon vanishes and leaves a yearning for more. “Everybody Dies!!!”’s disproportional offbeats resemble a slow incline towards heaven with the latter half of track featuring a musical reenactment of the transition into death and the afterlife, or whatever the endgame may be. It’s a slow but energy-laden ascent that breathes some life into the second half of Life is Alright.
The earlier tracks demand more attention but that doesn’t subtract from the strength of side B. There’s more of a punch to side A, while side B catches its breath. Every song has an intrinsic ability to fall into an early Nirvana-esque groove, producing chords that can’t possibly fit together well but still slip into place.
The grass is probably greener on the other side, but life does not get any easier. Life is Alright, Everybody Dies condenses our daily strife down to a neat little package for listeners to drink up. The album came out on Feb. 19 on Exploding in Sound and Midnight Werewolf Records.
- Minimal lyrics but powerful songs
- Graceful instrumentals
- Can’t understand the lyrics