Written by Brandon George
"I Can't Bike" is the latest single from Pictoria Vark, the project from New Jersey-originating Iowan Victoria Park. It reinvigorates the songwriter and bassist's previous dedication to emotionally resonant lyricism with a hint of irony and crunchy, cathartic guitarwork.
“I Can't Bike'' features a logical and affirming progression of Park's themes. Much of her self-titled EP, released in 2018, grappled with the feelings of malaise faced by people reaching adulthood in an increasingly fraught world. With this single, the introspection shifts the focus to feelings of nostalgia while suspended in a state of transition.
The twang of the electric guitars, the layered acoustic guitar, and easygoing drums create the atmosphere of a car ride fraught with tension that no one can seem to place. The opening line, “Stone cold looks in the rear-view/I won’t shut up again,” partnered with steady, moving bass, sets the stage.
With the restrained lyricism, taking only three short verses to say what she needs to say, Park explores a sense of unspoken insecurity. Words gone unsaid, visions of places carrying years of memories, and the inability to place the source of negative emotions all plague our narrator as the car carries her across the plains.
The track does an excellent job of using bright, airy instrumentation to give the song a feeling of joy and weightlessness, while contrasting that with the lyricism and composition. There is a finality, then, when the song erupts into a white-noise drenched guitar solo, as if the tension of the car ride has erupted into emotional freedom.
“I Can’t Bike,” fitting to its lyrical content, evokes the feeling of a long drive through a hometown. There is apprehension, there is regret, but there is also a feeling of catharsis, of nostalgia, and an understanding that change will come, for better or worse.
“I Can't Bike” is out now from Get Better Records on your preferred streaming service. The song was released along with a music video directed by Park you can find here, and you can follow Pictoria Vark on Twitter @PictoriaVark. Let us know what you thought of the song @lgndsoftmrw.