words by tom johnson
photograph by kay dargin
There’s a moment a little over a minute into the new album from Clever Girls, on opening track ‘Come Clean’, where the thunder hits an unexpected burst of noise pulled from the clouds with otherworldly abandon. All led by Diane Jean, the band’s chief songwriter, you can almost feel the sense of catharsis as they sing on, undeterred, while the world falls in around them. It’s a breathless moment and one that immediately defines what follows across the rest of the band’s brilliant new record.
It also highlights the dichotomy that sits at the heart of the band. Across the album’s ten songs there’s a constant swaying between dark and bright; not so much a push and pull more that Jean is never afraid to chance their bets and dive headfirst into the abyss.
For all the wide-eyed wonder such an approach conjures, there are plenty of moments of light here too. ‘Remember Pluto’ is all breezy, infectious woo-ooh vocals, while ‘Saturn’ is equally buoyant, a spirited guitar pop number which balances the scales.
Mostly though, Clever Girls are absorbed in the space between, often fading in and out while thick, heavy atmosphere swirls around them. The playing is often loose and ragged, in a way that feels pertinently organic, but it’s Jean who is undoubtedly the star of the show, guiding us through the fogginess with a gutsy radiance that we’d follow almost anywhere.
The album is released tomorrow via the excellent Egghunt Records but you can stream the whole thing here today.
Buy the album here // Play as loud as you can below:
A Music Journal ~ Issue 8
Our Curious Printed Magazine
preorder now // visit the gfp store