Zac Clark
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Zac Clark

Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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Burlington-area pop singer-songwriter Zac Clark seems destined for big things. Blessed with a laser-sharp ear for melody and considerable keyboard chops, it's easy to imagine him becoming a national name. His latest EP, Ellipsis, follows up his full-length debut, Faking Amnesia. In between releases, the young musician honed his skills through regional performances. Judging from his current offering, it was time well spent.

Those with an aversion to sweet-toothed tunes might want to sit this one out. Fans of Ben Folds, Elvis Costello and "The O.C.," on the other hand, will find plenty to enjoy. Expertly recorded and mixed by Mike Poorman of Burlington's Strangeways Studios, Ellipsis is packed with hooks and heart-on-sleeve poetics.

The disc kicks off with "On My Way," a slinky number featuring electric piano, handclaps and a muscular bass line. Clark makes the most of the stripped-down arrangement by emphasizing his boyish vocals. "I just want to get stuck in your head and be the kind of melody you can't shake," he sings in the opening verse. Done and done.

Clark is a keen balladeer, as "The Way It Sounds When No One's Listening," ably showcases. The track features only piano and Clark's emotional tenor, which provide more than enough melodic material. "This is malfunction, this is failure to reciprocate / The feelings manufactured by machines / Can you see through them? / Their illusions are obscuring every scene," Clark sings plaintively.

"Amelia" is the catchiest song on the disc. It also features the most bells and whistles, from drum- machine breakdowns to gurgling synth tones. Such sonic add-ons will likely sound dated within a year, but for now, it works.

The EP wraps up with "Stay," a piano meditation filled with wistful romantic musings. Youthful Clark is incredibly good at this kind of thing, but I wonder how much of it comes from personal experience. Either way, it's a lovely cut.

If Clark continues to explore the big'ol world beyond Burlington, he'll no doubt become successful. Hopefully this won't change his approach to song craft, which is refreshingly unpretentious. - Casey Rea, Seven Days


This is something else pretty unique for a local release- a top-flight pop-rock piano player, and a young one to boot. Zac Clark is an 18-year-old who just graduated from Essex High School, and "Faking Amnesia" is a vibrant, mature effort with provocative lyrics ("I keep this roman candle burning/Both ends dipped in gasoline/Because I'm all about routine") and completely hummable tunes. He mines songwriting territory similar to that of Hyde Park native Gregory Douglass, but comparisons to a less cheeky version of Ben Folds might be more apt.

-Brent Hallenbeck, Free Press Staff Writer - Burlington Free Press


Discography

Faking Amnesia - 2005
Ellipsis - 2006

Photos

Bio

“Blessed with a laser-sharp ear for melody and considerable keyboard chops,” (Casey Rea, Seven Days), 19-year-old Zac Clark has spent the past few months winning over audiences across the east coast, taking the stage at clubs like Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, RI, Paradise in Boston, MA, and making a sold out appearance at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT, sharing the stage with artists like Teddy Geiger (Columbia Records), Ben Jelen and Gomez (ATO Records), all in support of his new EP, Ellipsis, produced by Mike Poorman (ex-Hot Rod Circuit, Vagrant Records) and released in conjunction with Ten Pin Management (Paul Westerberg, New York Dolls.) The five-song disc, on which Zac plays every instrument, is “packed with hooks and heart-on-sleeve poetics,” and the live show, featuring touring veterans Mike Poorman and Daryl Rabidoux on drums and bass, is as energetic and engaging as they come. Hailed as a “top-flight pop-rock piano player” by the Burlington Free Press and compared to Ben Folds and Elvis Costello by Seven Days, you wont want to miss out on Zac's blend of piano pop sensibility with indie rock and punk influences.

Check out a live video of Zac from the December 3rd show at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an8c_xJ_m70