Diane Cluck
Macy’s Day Bird/Black with Green Leaves Important http://www.tinymixtapes.comsites/default/files/arton5161_0.jpg

[Important; 2006]

Rating: 2.5/5 2.5 / 5 (0)

Styles: folk-pop, singer-songwriter
Others: Joni Mitchell, Judee Sill, Nick Drake, Cat Power


http://media.tinymixtapes.com/

With 2005's Countless Times, Diane Cluck established herself as a premier writer and performer of underground heartsong, the sort of simple, sincere folk-rock fusion that artists like Bill Fay and Judee Sill perfected in the '70s and that many contemporary artists are revisiting as a response to cheaply ironic indie rock, encroaching commercialization, and a shitty political climate. Cluck has honed the art of projecting authenticity without belaboring the point.

While her art oozes with real stories, real people, and real instruments, a careful sense of arrangement lies beneath its homespun surface. This double-disc compilation of two of Cluck's early recordings, 2001's Macy's Day Bird and 2002's Black with Green Leaves EP, demonstrates just how important this sense of contrivance and premeditation is in Cluck's music. Raw, unchecked, and ultimately unsuccessful, Macy's Day Bird is a mostly forgettable affair. Too off-the-cuff and stream-of-consciousness for its own good, the album finds Cluck penning flat, thin tunes with undercultivated melodies and a general lack of tension. Clumsy lyrics like "I gave it back to my four-fingered lefty/ He slaps me five by adding the thumb" indicate just how inactive Cluck's self-editing faculties were when she assembled these songs.

Black with Green Leaves is a much more interesting outing. It maintains its predecessor's minimal guitar/piano/harmonium palate and capitalizes on Cluck's greatest asset: her voice. Cluck's voice is a devastatingly expressive device, capable of carrying a tune even when its rhythm matches spoken language, able to completely carry a song when she really lets loose. Her pipes do in fact carry "Casting About" ”“ the song's murky guitar chords sound like a holdover from Macy's Day Bird, but Cluck sounds more confident and full as a singer, demanding that we give her our full attention. She multi-tracks her voice on "Crash Through the Half-Light" and "Pathway to Eden," creating a hazy effect that contrasts with her humble folk compositions, much like how blissed-out female voices and otherworldly effects complicated simple song structures in the first two His Name Is Alive albums. "I'm Yr Here ”“ I ”“ Am" is the EP's strongest piece; it allows Cluck's voice to fill in the gaps between jarring, percussive guitar strums. It's the only time on either of these two albums that any true disruption occurs, and Cluck's ability to pull the song together each time that the guitar tries to break it to pieces shows that she had a magnetism about her even in her formative artistic years.

Disc One:

1. (untitled)
2. Save Me
3. God Made It Rain
4. Heat from Every Corner
5. Hover Not
6. Macy's Day Bird
7. (untitled)
8. A Beast in a Barn
9. Yatzee Dice
10. I Liked You As Soon As I Saw You
11. Battlefield Nurse
12. Impatient Sun

Disc Two:

1. Crash Through the Half-Light
2. Casting About
3. Pathway to Eden
4. I'm Yr Here ”“ I ”“ Am
5. Focus on Their Eyes
6. The Party Tonight

1. (untitled)
2. Save Me
3. God Made It Rain
4. Heat from Every Corner
5. Hover Not
6. Macy's Day Bird
7. (untitled)
8. A Beast in a Barn
9. Yatzee Dice
10. I Liked You As Soon As I Saw You
11. Battlefield Nurse
12. Impatient Sun
Disc Two:

1. Crash Through the Half-Light
2. Casting About
3. Pathway to Eden
4. I'm Yr Here - I - Am
5. Focus on Their Eyes
6. The Party Tonight