Monday, February 22, 2010
The Creatures In The Garden Of Lady Walton
9.2, Brassland records, 2010
Clogs are a 4 piece band featuring Bryce Dessner (from The National) on guitar, Padma Newsome on violin, viola, piano, and vocals, Rachel Elliott on Bassoon and percussionist Thomas Kozumplik. They are traditionally known for their instrumental work but 8 of the 10 songs on the album feature vocals of some sort. Their genres can range from classical to post-rock to acoustic singer-songwriter.
The first track on the album called "Cocodrillo" features only vocals. It's a very interesting track lasting under two minutes in which layered voices grow from one voice to two to all of a sudden a whole lot. This is one of the tracks on the album that features Shara Wardon from My Brightest Diamond. "I Used To Do" goes back to the traditional Clogs style of instrumental classical music mixed with some acoustic and post rock. Bryce's guitars are nicely layered and Thomas' marimba really shines as well. Live, this song really stood out. They bring back Shara Worden for "On The Edge," a darker piece. Her voice makes you want to melt. It's quite beautiful. Padma takes over the singing duties on "Red Seas," possibly the most beautiful song on the album. It has a bit of a singer-songwriter feel to it but in a good way. The guitar playing is amazing and the horns at the end make it sound a bit like Broken Social Scene. Everything about this piece makes it shine.
After two very mediocre My Brightest Diamond type tracks comes "Last Song" featuring vocals from Matt of The National. I don't usually care much for his voice but in this song it fits perfectly. The lyrics in this song are very simple, but very nice. The dark, layered guitars mixed with Matt's voice gives you the feeling that your on a boat, stranded with not much of a chance of surviving. The next track "To Hugo" is another instrumental track similar to "I Used To Do." The last song, "We Were Here" is equally as amazing as any of the songs on this album and features Sufjan Stevens on vocals and Banjo and Shara Worden again. It is set in a nice sentiment to end the album.
I've never really heard any music quite like Clogs. It's really interesting stuff. All the songs are written with a certain sense of contentment, darkness and uncertainty that makes it interesting to see what will happen next. It's hard to describe. Listen for yourself, you won't be disappointed.
The Creatures In The Garden Of Lady Walton is available March 2nd so be sure to pick it up at your local independent record store!
-Eliot Larson February 22nd, 2010