Clogs Lantern

[Brassland; 2006]

Styles: neo-classical, indie rock chamber music
Others: The Books, The National, Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Musicianship. In the world of indie rock it isn't necessary. Some would go so far as to say it's a rarity. Honing in on a craft, mastering an instrument takes a backseat to aesthetics and hype. When a band, or should I say an ensemble, such as Clogs comes along, not only should we perk our ears, but we should pay our respect and gratitude. Led by Bryce Dessner and Padma Newsome, Clogs bring a classical music approach to an indie rock world. They bring strings, bassoons, melodicas, and — this time around — a ukulele and mandola.

Lantern, their fourth album, executes music through patience and savvy. These are trained artists making evocative music — "evocative," as in something within you wells and throbs when you devote the proper time and attention to it. If you listen closely enough, you may even catch a few punches to the lungs. And who doesn't enjoy a good lung punch every so often? For those familiar with the music of Clogs, Lantern won't sound like much of a departure, but a definite improvement. The nuance of piano, the swelling strings that exercise restraint, the welling and wheeze of a crescendo — it all delivers.

Indie rock listeners typically end their classical listening when they leave freshman semester's Music Appreciation class final exam. Clogs are a chance to extend that education. For all its centuries-old influences, the music retains a contemporary sound. You could mistake Clogs for Godspeed You! Black Emperor just as easily as you could mistake them for Charles Ives. Clogs don't seem overtly concerned with politics, hype, or faux-hawks. The stress is placed on the music. Not everyone, even in the beloved indie rock world, can claim that.

1. Kapsburger
2. Canon
3. 5/4
4. 2:3:5
5. Death and the Maiden
6. Lantern
7. Tides of Washington Bridge
8. The Song of the Cricket
9. Fiddlegree
10. Compass
11. Voisins
12. Tides (Piano)