His newest venture won't have him singing with Tidal Arms. Mark is leaving the voice work up to experimental jazz player Tom Tierney (guitar, vocals). They are also joined by former Kiss Kiss indie rocker Patrick Southern (bass), who is known for adding a more brutal tone to bass.
Mark originally met Tierney on the Internet while he was searching for a guitarist for Warship and Goblin Chick. So Tierney dropped his project and joined up. It wasn't long after that Tierney introduced Mark to former bandmate Southern. They only have one goal.
"We have a simple goal, to try to be our own favorite band and to try to make music that we would want to listen to over anything else," Mark recently wrote to Absolute Punk. "Maybe that is the goal of a lot of bands, and maybe it's an impossible goal."
People who haven't heard Tierney before (and maybe some who have) might be wondering if he was the best choice for vocals. The sound, however, is by design. Tierney has a much smoother, bluesy growl in his repertoire but no more control. You just won't hear it here. You won't hear it as a guitarist with independent female vocal pop folk band Big Tree either.
The studio tracks provide a better vocal delivery, all around. But the real talent of the three-piece band is in the instrumental proficiency that rings consistently throughout the album, which pushes itself over the vocals anyway. The Sun Exploding is excellent with its broad riffs. Driftwood is down and dirty, gritty pounding similar to, but better than, Hair and Teeth.
Less striking are the lower tempo moments of Heavy Brainfall, Lower Slaughter, and Several Circles. They're fine slowdowns but you never really feel dialed in like the more aggressive belts. By comparison, Swarm In Five and Social Landlord do a better job selling the experimental psychedelic rock scene.
Those songs, along with Past Prosperity, have an addictive quality easy enough to get lost in for awhile. You can't really knock it. It's apparent Mark is producing exactly the kind of music he wants to listen to right now. The band is playing Texas with Glassjaw and These People tonight. They'll be in California at the end of the month. I might catch them at the El Rey Theatre on Feb. 25.
Tidal Arms Crashes In At 4.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
What makes Tidal Arms promising is that all three members have varied styles, ranging from jazz to near punk. None of them ever seem to feel settled into a single gig either, which might even been why the band decided to self-release instead of turing to Vagrant (backers of three Mark projects).
No matter. Tidal Arms is worth checking out, especially if you're a Francis Mark fan. Pick The Sun Exploding by Tidal Arms on iTunes. Amazon also has MP3 downloads from The Sun Exploding for a little less.