Local Review: Marcus Koncar – Pretty Things Seldom Do
Local Music Reviews
Pretty Things Seldom Do
Marcus Koncar = Neva Dinova (You May Already Be Dreaming) + Smog – Jode (“Tomorrow Is Gone”)
Marcus Koncar’s Pretty Things Seldom Do is a sad album about many awful things. It’s an album that, at first, made me concerned: “As a content warning, this album discusses sexual and physical abuse, drug addiction and suicidal ideation,” Koncar warns on his Bandcamp site (and here I am warning you). I wish I had read that beforehand because, upon first listening, I was taken aback. However, Koncar has a rare, authentic sort of earnestness and perception, a style that’s a bit difficult to grasp in his indie rock scrapbook.
I mean, I should have looked at the first song’s title, “Disclaimer,” but per usual, I rarely consider titles. Here, Koncar is already apologizing for what we’re about to uncover: “I am sorry if this is horrible / I am sorry if this is uncomfortable.” Then, Koncar dives into “Motel Song.” There’s nothing woe-is-me about the track, which seems to be a journal entry rather than an actual song. That said, it’s pretty unsettling to hear Koncar’s monotone, gritty voice talking about an apparently violent childhood. “There were two men there ready to fight / And my dad / Punched the man’s head into the door / And I watched from the other side as blood pooled onto the / floor… Dark, thick and crimson, that must be the blood that makes his / brain run… I was just in first grade, I don’t know how to clean this up,” the song says.
“I am sorry if this is horrible / I am sorry if this is uncomfortable.”
The despair continues and continues; and god, it’s dark. “Black & White Pt. 2” has an in-depth nostalgic appeal as Koncar considers what he was like as a child. There is a universal sense of how one was (or can imagine) as a child. Oh, to be that again, that spiritual embryo who you assume continues to stick around into adulthood. Alas, it does not, and yet, the most primitive years are those years; a helpless kiddo with the world thrust in your face.
The album is just a lot. It’s full of repetition. The kind of unwanted repetition that feels like you’re hitting your head against a brick wall over and over, or stuck at home with the flu and the only thing on TV is Seinfeld. Moreover, the acoustics and musicality are fantastic, but the mood is exhausting. Some people like that shit, and that’s fine—Go ahead, thrive on it, make it your brand, tell me I’m wrong and you’re right. Certainly, there are enjoyable moments, especially in “Exhumation Song // Bloodletting,” where you get a break from Koncar’s journal entries and hear a coherent song. It’s a noteworthy piece that reminds us listeners (but even more so Koncar) that “It’s all a dream… Oh God I’ll be alright / Yes I’ll be just fine.” Right? Right.
“It’s all a dream… Oh God I’ll be alright / Yes I’ll be just fine.”
The last few tracks are enjoyable—even whimsical, like Sam Means’ The Sinking of Santa Isabel. As with Koncar’s album and Means’ film, there’s that nomad characterization which is simultaneously enthralling and vacant. Nonetheless, a sliver of hope is integrated into Koncar’s deep, unsettling tale. Rachel Cusk once wrote: “It will come apart, that image, and what remains is not a new or different image but a pile of pieces that mean nothing at all,” and as a listener, I finally feel relief. –Kassidy Waddell