LARK have finally released their third studio album, Gong is Struck, for which, Perdeby is certain, the cosmos aligned. This is more than just nine tracks showcasing the talents of the electro band from Cape Town. Inge Beckmann (vocals), Paul Ressel (production, audio manipulation, guitar, keys), Simon “Fuzzy” Ratcliffe (bass and doudouk) and Sean Ou Tim (drums and percussion) have created an album that travels through our primordial origins, weaving mysticism and legend with a tribal base that penetrates from the darkest recesses to the summits of the unknown.
The journey starts with “Long Mantra” and it’s near impossible not to become completely entranced by Beckmann’s ethereal vocals. An apt introduction for “Ascending”, where Ressel, Ratcliffe and Ou Tim begin with a formidable bass that beats down and breaks with Beckmann as she rises and returns with concentrated and controlled power, her voice becoming another character in the track’s narrative, which lends itself to the theatrical quality of the album but never strays far from the untameable undertone of each track.
“Seek to Find” is a journey unto itself, the lyrics pushing through the slowed, consistent pace. When Beckmann says “fly”, you fly with her and seamlessly move into the next track, “Afflatus” (meaning a divine communication of knowledge or inspiration).
Even when the dense bass line lets up there’s a distinct rawness, such as with “Stole the Moon”, the violin (Vicente Espi) and intermittent distortion creating an unnerving edge to the melodic. It’s this edge that’s internalised in “Two Wolves” where Beckmann’s lyrics create a foreboding tale of an encroaching conflict with an inevitable victor.
“We are Growing”, LARK’s cover of the Shaka Zulu television series’s theme song, originally performed by Magaret Singana, was unexpected. Besides eliciting a bout of childhood nostalgia, the cover adds a distinctly South African thread to the mythic tapestry woven throughout the album.
“I am Zeus” is a final war cry, with Beckmann assuming the role of commander on the battlefield of your conscious. It’s challenging, appealing to the basest instincts of survival, with an added edge of invincibility.
This is LARK at their most primal and most divine. Get a copy. Get struck.
See the music video of “Stole the Moon” below.