Clearlake Cedars

[Domino; 2003]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles:  britpop
Others: Blur, Alfie, Supergrass

British music is trying to reinvent itself. Blur may be the most obvious metamorphosis with their charmingly electro-pop Think Tank. The Libertines’ Up The Bracket was a pleasant and enjoyable revelation with their upbeat and danceable electro-punk record from earlier this year. And now, we have Clearlake: the perfect offspring of Morrissey’s melancholy disposition return with their sophomore release Cedars following their buzz-worthy 2001 debut Lido. 

Clearlake is all about misery. Sad song lyrics like “I put up a fight but my mind always wins” (from the psychological anthem “The Mind is Evil”) to “It’s true what they say, you have to watch the quiet ones” (from the peculiarly eccentric “I’d Like To Hurt You”) only emphasize their tactic as personal escorts into their own abyss. And the lyrics are so rich and colourful that they can draw you in and captivate you with mind-numbing and overpowering sadness. Luckily, what is extremely attractive and optimistic about Clearlake is their ability to make their songs consistently uplifting and inspirational. Their music methodology is undeniably their most dependable and redeeming quality, with an assortment of illogic drum tempos, luscious string arrangements, and distorted guitar resonance. The rhythm of the album wallops from the guitar disquiet blues of “Come into the Darkness” to the pleasantly optimistic ballad of “Keep Smiling." But throughout the entire album, there is no moment of happiness or pleasure. Clearlake’s Cedars is a beautiful record. Unfortunately, there is nothing beautiful about what the album is portraying with its lyrics. If you listen to the music, not the overly dark and depressing lyrics, Cedars is another landmark in the story of Britpop.

1. Almost the same
2. The mind is evil
3. Wonder if the snow will settle
4. Can't feel a thing
5. I'd like to hurt you
6. Come into the darkness
7. Just off the coast
8. Keep smiling
9. It's all too much
10. Treat yourself with kindness
11. Trees in the city