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Sun, 29 Jan 2006

Clearlake, Amber

Clearlake, Amber
LP, Domino

This was a bit of a surprise. With the band and album name as they are, I expected something vaguely new-agey with lots of softness, warm hugs and the like. In fact there's lots of nice big fat guitar and some clever arrangements which are quite are quite hard-hitting musically, and done within the pop genre rather than trying for punkness.

From the promo - 'Clearlake have been making excellent records since the wonderful Winterlight single announced their arrival. 2000's debut album Lido was much-loved, sparked a sell-out UK tour and won plaudits from all sorts of stellar peers and heroes. Second album, Cedars, in 2003, was the one that attracted rave notices in the US too and found adoring fans all across America on a huge two-month visit in 2004. Dashing into the studio upon their return, Clearlake vowed to deliver a swift follow-up.

Somehow, it became a bit of an odyssey, across eight studios in France and the UK. It took time, but the results are timeless: the motorik, mesmeric opener "No Kind Of Life", the bluesy moonburst of "Neon", the buzzy rush of "Good Clean Fun", the Kinksy oomph of "Finally Free", the prowling tension of You Can't Have Me, the coruscating title song, the countrified lament Dreamt That You Died and the awesome guitar power of "Widescreen".

Produced by Clearlake's Jason Pegg with Steve Osborne (U2, Happy Mondays, KT Tunstall) and Jim Abbiss (Kasabian, DJ Shadow, David Gray) and recorded by Phill Brown (Talk Talk, Bob Marley, LedZep, Hendrix, you name it)' (Dr Boots)

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