Pictoria Vark, the solo project of Iowa City by way of New Jersey bassist Victoria Park, dropped the first single from her debut album yesterday morning. Victoria has made a name for herself in the indie sphere as the touring bassist for Squirrel Flower, with whom she has opened for everyone from Big Thief to more recently Soccer Mommy. Victoria had her first foray into her solo output as Pictoria Vark with 2018’s Self Titled EP. The tape featured four melancholy stripped back rock and roll tracks in the vein of a group like Snail Mail, always punctuated and driven by stellar bass lines. The tracks played with a loud/quiet dynamic that showed a great deal of range in a short period of time and pointed at massive potential for growth as she continued recording.
“I Can’t Bike” is the first track Pictoria Vark is putting out as a member of Get Better Records, and feels like a definite step up from her previous solo work. The recording quality is a good bit more professional and “I Can’t Bike” is without a doubt the most measured and moving track Pictoria has put out to date. “I Can’t Bike” is driven by a thumping bass line, as the track slowly and steadily builds from quiet and reserved to a monumental close. Victoria spends the majority of the “I Can’t Bike” video bantering, playing cards, and dancing with miniature cardboard cut outs of her band mates and homies. As she plays with these miniature figures the song is tenderhearted and hushed, as Victoria sings about “feeling small” like the stick figures she’s palling around with. Then two and a half minutes in, the song builds to a crescendo of a closing solo ripped to shreds by Jason Ross, and the gang springs from their stick figure form to real ass life, as if they were transmogified by the heft of Jason’s solo. The video closes with the gang clowning around town, drinking white claws, and playing with their miniature selves. I guess nothing can cure your melancholy like bringing some friends back to life. This hopefully will not be the last we hear from Pictoria Vark and their cohort, hopefully they have more music right around the corner.