Experiencing more in his first fourteen years of life, due to moving to Amsterdam with his parents (who opened a virtual halfway house/clinic for recovering drug addicts), than most of us do by the age of 30 may have colored Michael Clarke in some fashion. Perhaps it gave him clarity to write catchy-ass pop songs. Who knows? But something has given this 22-year-old some serious talent. Enough talent to walk into the offices at Wildstar Records, play a few demos and get signed on the spot. Somehow sounding like an amalgamation of Adam Schlesinger of Fountains Of Wayne and Howie Day, Clarke has written an excellent pop tune in ìSecret File.î Shuffly drum rhythms, wacky synth lines and piano backing come together to accelerate this hook-laden number ever-skyward. Thereís no train currently going to Clarkesville, but Clarkesville is definitely set to be going somewhere very fast, very soon.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN