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The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


A review of their album 'Amber'

ClearlakeReview Snapshot:
With their more illustrious label mates sewing up the European art-pop market, Brighton rockers Clearlake flirt briefly with good old English indie before settling on watery, derivative, stadium-sized alt-Americana in an uninspired niche between Coldplay and BRMC.

The Cluas Verdict: 5.5 out of 10.

Full Review:
Domino Records, home to the ubiquitous Artic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, may seem like today's exclusive dealer in classic English indie bands. Yet they originally were the label that brought U.S. lo-fi like Sebadoh and Pavement to this side of the Atlantic, and they still have room on their roster for what may be (vocals aside) the most American-sounding band in Britain.

Clearlake have enjoyed relative success on the Stateside college scene and so "Amber" - their third album - tends towards consolidation and a ride in the slipstream of their fellow compound-nouns Coldplay and Radiohead in their "Pablo Honey" days.

What we get is arena-friendly introspection ('Widescreen'), Pixies-style guitar droning ('No Kind Of Life'), bluesy Black Rebel Motorcycle Club attitude ('Neon') and a safe-hands name producer in Steve Osborne.

However, none of this alt-rock posturing sits comfortably with Jason Pegg's flat nasal voice, as droning and repetitive as the guitars on this record, and fatal to any tune in its vicinity.

Only the wry Wedding Present-esque pop of 'I Hate It That I Got What I Wanted' offers anything in the way of personality, energy or melody. Its catchy chorus and bruised swagger hint at a seam of vibrant guitar pop that Clearlake should really consider exploring further if they want to amount to anything more than just another guitar band.

Aidan Curran

(bullet) To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.