Cain Marko - At Sea (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Cain Marko

At Sea (2011)


If nothing else, give Michigan's Cain Marko credit for being self-aware on their new EP, At Sea. The group writes gravelly, Hot Water Music-y punk tunes, and as the band admits on opening track "At Sea in St. Paul", their strengths lie in writing "another song about drinking." That's a little too self-deprecating, though, as Cain Marko does play the occasional post-hardcore structure. The guitars noodle a bit à la Grown Ups or CSTVT. But mostly, At Sea offers four solid punk tracks about failure.

"At Sea in St. Paul" gradually introduces the players, opening at first with just rim clicks and guitar strumming before building into something fiercer. The band starts hammering out in half-time before finally throwing down a tasty 4/4 straight-ahead rocker. "Ralph, I Can't See!" gets to the point a little sooner, but the sad sackery remains, culminating in a beautifully sung bridge about remembering the past. It never gets too sappy, though. That wouldn't be tru punx.

"I Read This in a Book" is the shortest song at 2:43, and arguably the least distinct. It's somewhat disappointing coming after a winner like "Ralph", but at least the topic changes from drinking to race relations. Still, it lacks a certain amount of umph–no big hook, no major instrumental flourishes. "Let's Go Kill That Bastard" closes out the EP, and it certainly feels like a finale. The drums sound desperate and the gang vox are strong. The guitars even shift into pop-punk faux-shredding à la Rufio on that intro. While At Sea sounds like half of No Idea's discography, it still follows a reliable formula of passion, power and pilsners.