Amber





OK, I will go ahead and just start by stating that I really, really like this album. This is Clearlake's third full-length, which ended up as a much greater undertaking than they had originally anticipated. Their debut album, Lido, got the band plenty of critical acclaim in 2000, while their sophomore effort Cedars helped them gain a cult following here in the States. With Amber, this UK group has reached new heights and should delight fans of both old and new. The album's cinematic scope may be partially due to the extremes that the band went through for its completion. Stretching out over eight different studios in France and the UK, the multiple locations helped frontman Jason Pegg create an album that offers diverse sounds that flow seamlessly together, making their finest collection of songs to date. Kicking off with "No Kind Of Life", Toby May's pounding beat sets a dark tone to this churning, linear track showcasing Pegg's subtle yet beautifully melodic harmonies. Taking it up a notch, "It's Getting Light Outside" is their hit in the making. This surprisingly positive tune at times sounds like the perfect '60s pop song, peppered with orchestral flourishes by a string quintet that adds color to one of the greatest choruses I have heard so far this year. This is just damn good. The band shifts gears and gets their rock on with "Good Clean Fun" and "Finally Free", which are two of the more straightforward songs on the album. Another album highlight is the stomping blues-rock "Neon", led by a distorted harmonica and a dark, fuzzed-out bassline provided by David Woodward. An album this big has to end with a bang, which it does with the lush rock jam "Widescreen". The huge guitar sounds of Sam Hewitt and Pegg take center stage, as their dueling melodies nearly explode, then fade away as the album winds down to its final seconds. Clearlake have carefully harnessed influences from classic Motown to My Bloody Valentine, with a sound that walks a fine line between indie rock and pop. The result is a finely crafted album that should really put this band on the map.

Clearlake
Domino

Posted:
Amber