“Louisiana Voodoo (featuring Tony Joe White)” by The Mark

Though most of the friction in its arrangement comes from the mammoth size of the guitars and percussive componentry clashing together for control of the rhythm, there’s nonetheless a ton of incendiary melodicism spilling out of every corner in The Mark’s new single “Louisiana Voodoo.” Indulgence might not be doing the track the justice it deserves, but to be frank, there’s no other way to account for what The Mark and guitarist Tony Joe White have on the menu for listeners here.

White’s virtuosic string play adds a touch of angularity to the swing of the music that, at the onset of the song, feels almost too abrasive for what we’re expecting to come next. The Mark stuns with his vibrant lead vocal, however, creating such a cohesive bond with the instrumentation behind him that there are moments in which harmonies seem to have no start nor end points. Paying tribute to the classic American songbook whilst sticking with a style of efficiency that has never done him wrong in the past, our main performer delivers a top-notch look in this track certain to leave fans both old and new the same looking for more.

Let’s get down to the fundamentals of this piece; emotion, grooves, and most of all, poetic value. Emotionality is fostered not only through lyrics but the beats setting their context, and while The Mark’s singing does a lot to amplify the simplistic narrative of his words, the full package of instrumental ribbonry conveys the complete depth of his feelings here. White never steps on his toes and vice versa, allowing for the grooves to arise naturally and noninvasively, which circumvents the slightest opportunity for disaster right from the get-go.

Floating Downstream

Listen to Floating Downstream on Spotify. The Mark · Single · 2020 · 5 songs.

Poetic value can be found in both the urgency of The Mark’s vocal as well as the gallop of the backing band supporting his every word, touching on an expressiveness impossible to achieve without the fluidity of every player’s output in this track. I got chills the first time I listened to “Louisiana Voodoo,” mostly because I could instantly tell I was listening to a project totally defined by the passion that its creators put into it.

Those who dig soft rock with a pastoral sensibility are going to go nuts for The Mark’s sound this June, and I’m rooting for “Louisiana Voodoo” being anything but the last collaboration he engages in with Tony Joe White. They’re bringing out the best in each other in this performance and making the sting of every harmony a little more potent than necessary, which is one heck of a step up from the vast majority of split indie singles I’ve been reviewing from both pop and rock artists the same for most of 2021.

This is a homerun for these melody makers, and judging from the lack of guitar-driven pop/rock getting any legit share of the spotlight in the past few months, I think these two picked the right time to drop their shared masterpiece for all the world to enjoy.

Clay Burton