If you’ve lived long enough on this sordid mortal plane, than undoubtedly you’ve had your heart broken once or twice by someone who is now just a shimmering memory of a bygone time in your life. This experience would seemingly lend protection against further offense, but god damn if it doesn’t seep in like an opiate addiction every time. Sometimes the hardest lessons learned come from just putting yourself out there. This world weary nostalgia is the thematic face behind rockers The Clydes’ latest six track endeavor Generator.
As previewed in impressive gigs all 2013 long, Generator manages to capture the band’s live prowess and power paired with the dressings of some more than interesting studio elements. The warmth in tone, often drifting into the psychedelic, strikes from the outset even alongside The Clydes’ predilection for more hard charged, arena rock riffing.
Opener “The Fate Of California” establishes all of the aforementioned with a wealth of creative, intertwining guitar passages, skyward reaching harmonies, and Brent Johnson’s steadied, yet far reaching delivery. The frenzy crashes on a west coast beach with “Marigold” which allows guitarist Brian Johnson to stretch out with a series of searing, sunburnt lead lines.
“The Harvest” is The Clydes indulging in a little bit of their appreciation for The Smiths with Johnson’s “Out in the fields, making a killing” narrative set against explosive-if-you’re-listening-for-them guitar flourishes and tone switches. This all goes without neglecting the inventive backbeats and rhythms setting the whole soundscape in motion by Andrew Lord Chandler and MadMardigan.
After the storm comes “Shaken Down” which allows for a reprieve from the sneer and digs out the depth of romantic emotion. Albeit our protagonist is confused up until the last admission of “I don’t even know this song”, the fond remembrances of time spent in intimacy can get trumped up as ideals in our memory. That’s what makes for that impossible to define fuzzy, yearning feeling in your chest and “Shaken Down” explores that with more of the other (sorry Brian) Johnson’s expansive lead work.
If Generator where to compared to a sandwich, and I already regret making this comparison as I type this, then established hard rock odds to pop rock evens closes the album in particular style with “Bleak Street” as the meat and “No One Ever Laughs At The Sun” as the bread of your choice. The former builds and teases a frenetic pace building to a satisfying solo crescendo, while the latter is a classic 4am, bleary eyed, sunrise half-drunk poetic lamentation.
For all of it’s stylistic explorations, The Clydes manage to strike a chord all their own on Generator. Here’s hoping they keep chasing that California dream, however it may manifest itself.