Album – The Great Unconformity – Clever Bastards

Posted by admin on July 21st, 2006

Sometimes I hear a song from an artist that strikes a particular chord. The song in particular was “Play Away” which unless you are of a certain age and grew up in the UK, you probably wouldn’t have heard before. The song was the theme tune to a popular kids TV show and holds some particularly fond memories for me. The Clever Bastards released the song as a kind of World Cup single, but it’s also here on the album. I heard that track and just had to get the album in for review. To say I wasn’t disappointed is an understatement.

The album opens with the amazing “All We’ve Ever Asked For”. The lead singer Mike Curley has that texture of voice that reminds me a lot of Slade’s front man, Noddy Holder. Maybe that’s not too surprising when you know they are both from the same neck of the woods in the Midlands, UK. Mike’s formerly of Birmingham, UK, now lives in Seattle, US and has surrounded himself with some great musical talents.

I love the way that mandolins have been featured throughout, it gives the album a very distinctive edge, especially when combined with Mike’s great vocals. The guitars also have a great sound, especially the acoustics. The great sound has a lot to do with the way this album has been recorded and produced, I’m sure. There’s a very live feel, which works very well. Also dotted throughout the album are some great soundscapes, with sounds of the great outdoors and Mike seemingly writing in a journal or on a blackboard, I can’t makeout which.

If you haven’t guessed already, I think this is an absolutely amazing album. Being a Brit abroad, as Mike is, I’m sure there’s that hint of camaraderie, but make no mistake, this album gets an almost perfect score from me, purely on merit.

I love the track “Big City” which for me would have been the perfect track to close the album. A special mention has to also go to “Crazy” which has a feel far removed from the rest of the album, but adds some really colour to the album, with it’s bluesy jazzy just jammin’ feel.

Conclusion : You just need to hear just a few words from Mike’s mouth before you know it’s a Clever Bastards track, which is only reinforced by the great ensemble cast of musicians. This is easily one of my favorite albums so far this year.

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