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Pictoria Vark’s “I Can’t Bike” is a succinct yet optimistic journey on self-criticism

Pictoria Vark – “I Can’t Bike” single artwork.

Between marketing for the indie music label Refresh Records, touring as Squirrel Flower’s bassist and running a riveting Twitter campaign for the position as governor of New York, it’s safe to say that 2021 has been a busy year for Pictoria Vark (real name Victoria Park).

The arrival of “I Can’t Bike”, however, sees the Iowa City based songwriter slowing down and looking inward. The new single from Park is a succinct yet optimistic journey on overcoming inner trepidation. Starting out with hushed vocals and a muted bass, Park is in the grips on a tense yet contained moment of self-criticism. As the song progresses, there’s a growing confidence in both instrumentals and vocal performances that’s based not so much on overcoming doubt, but taking those first steps to recognize what those feelings are and what they’re based on.  

Pictoria Vark. Photo by Meanz Chan.

As much as earnest instrumentals play a part of this feeling in the present moment, time itself is also a key instrument in approaching the song’s subject matter. “’I Can’t Bike’ is one of my oldest songs”, says Park. “It was the second song I ever finished writing during my first year of college. It was such a treat being able to reimagine it years later and unabashedly lean into indie rock sounds and motifs almost as parody.” All that topped with a bombastic guitar solo from guitarist Jason Ross makes “I Can’t Bike” an endearing and relatable tune.

The corresponding music video takes the aching urge to gather with friends to a humorous degree as Park hangs out with cut out paper figures of friends for a majority of the video. When the instrumental break begins, said friends appear in real life and continue carrying out antics with their respective dolls. 

“I Can’t Bike” is Pictoria Vark’s latest single, and her first release with Philadelphia indie stalwart Get Better Records.

Header photo by Meanz Chan.

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