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Zac Clark - Ellipsis Album Cover

Zac Clark - Ellipsis

Reviewed by
6.7
Zac Clark - Ellipsis
Release Date: June 2006
Record Label: Unsigned/ Ten Pin Management

It takes little more than a promenade through the pop/rock section of your local Best Buy to see that existence as a sensitive piano rocker does not hold the same level of novelty it once did. As the old ebony and ivory becomes as much a fashion accessory as it is a bona fide musical tool for the emo balladeer, it becomes harder and harder for the "little guy" to break on through (to the other side). Nevertheless, there is, and always will be, something pure and traditional about the old keys that acts as a siren's call to the everyday musician, and Vermont's Zac Clark is no exception.

If an unknown musician is going to start off an EP to gain a larger audience, he better make sure that he does it right. This lesson is far from lost on Clark, as he kicks off Ellipsis with the bubbly fuzz of "On My Way." Now, I am a firm believer that all songs with handclaps tend to skew themselves towards being downright righteous, and this opener does nothing whatsoever to buck that trend. On its own, the track is the embodiment of fun - it's bouncy, it's cool, and it's breezy. In essence, it is exactly the type of tune that would get a guy like Zac noticed by the suits in "the biz." If Ellipsis were indeed five iterations on this framework, the EP would be a true force instead of a wrinkle.

However, Clark's work peaks prematurely (don't worry, it happens to a lot of guys), and he never really reestablishes the magic of "On My Way." As we progress to tracks like "Welcome Back," an obvious nod to Something Corporate's "Down" and other like cuts, we see the cracks in the edifice start to appear. When the music starts to center around Clark's vocal/piano combination ahead of a muted drum line, the songs start to lack something. It would appear that Zac suffers from the walking gum-chewing syndrome, where he can either sing or play piano - never both simultaneously. What we get then are songs that blindly focus on Clark's pleasant vocals, which meanwhile relegate his piano parts to a narrow focus on simple chord progressions and a stagnant focus on rhythm. Perhaps it is an inability to separate his hands while he serenades his listener, but whatever the root cause, said listener is left with a frustrating plink-plink-plink that falls a far cry from the artists and works which influence these very songs. While this slump sort of itches and diffuses throughout the rest of the EP, Clark embraces a return-to-form on the funky, playful "Amelia" where we once again are privy to Zac's better side, but it is still not a consistent reemergence. The disc concludes then accordingly, with "Stay," whose emotional vocals would be well-suited for any pseudo-poignant moment on the WB or any homecoming's last dance.

In the end, Zac Clark is certainly better than most of the poseurs out there shamelessly banging away on a piano in an apparent shortcut to getting the proverbial girl. However, if he is going to make it on his own, it is going to take more than a pretty voicebox to do so. Clark either needs to go whole hog with his jazzy, silly, bouncy side a la "On My Way," or he needs to step up his verse playing and give Mr. McMahon a run for his money in the Jack's Mannequin/Something Corporate vein of songwriting. Until then, though, Zac Clark is a name to look out for with eventual, not immediate, success. As Clark lingers at the ripe old age of 19, time should not be an issue.


Recommended if you like: Something Corporate, Jack's Mannequin, The Rocket Summer, Lux Courageous
This review is a user submitted review from Steve Henderson. You can see all of Steve Henderson's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 12 of 12
08:22 PM on 10/16/06
#2
FrostedFlames
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SoCo, JM and TRS? I'm gonna have to check him out.
08:32 PM on 10/16/06
#3
Steve Henderson
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http://myspace.com/zacclark

For those interested. Check it out.
09:11 PM on 10/16/06
#4
bluecrunchy
To shreds, you say.
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He's a cool guy. I've really liked the songs I've heard so far.
09:31 PM on 10/16/06
#5
LD1983
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Z CITY IN THE HOUSE... this guy is amazing... look out for him.
11:23 PM on 10/16/06
#6
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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I can't believe you only gave this album a 67. This does not reflect your actual criticism because I don't really feel like reading the review, so I going to assume you thought it was awesome. Because you write for AP and all.

<3
03:17 AM on 10/17/06
#7
Steve Henderson
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I can't believe you only gave this album a 67. This does not reflect your actual criticism because I don't really feel like reading the review, so I going to assume you thought it was awesome. Because you write for AP and all.

<3
Huh?
07:18 AM on 10/17/06
#8
the rog
Yale, MA / Pretty & Nice
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Zac is a great guy, awesome voice.
07:59 AM on 10/17/06
#9
joshua.
graphic designer
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i love the song "on my way."
05:14 PM on 10/17/06
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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Damn, I thought I was being clever. I was trying to be funny, pretending to get mad at you for giving a band a 67.

Nonetheless, nice one. Like always.
09:57 AM on 10/19/06
baton
ftfmusic.net
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i love his music, i found his work thanks to down to earth approach, really good, i only heard a few songs so i can't say that much, but i really liked what i heard :]
08:16 PM on 10/24/06
Tristan Needler
This is forever.
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i've known this guy since the fourth grade. it's awesome to see he's finally getting some recognition, i know he can go a long way.

steve, just so you know, he wrote welcome back in grade four or five years ago, making him fourteen or fifteen.

i feel honored that i got to play music with this guy (and that he used my bass for some of the recording).

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