I love the band Clem Snide. I just want to make that clear. Pretty much anything Eef Barzelay and his nerdy, nasally voice wants to sing, I’m there. Last year’s Hungry Bird had moments of sheer brilliance. But. You knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you. But, the band’s albums (especially Hungry Bird) are often just too . . . Sad. The band never hurries up, and rarely changes tempo, and the slow-moving laments can become exhausting. And it took it’s tool: The band planned to break up. But after wrapping Hungy Bird, they hit the road and came up with 12 new songs that represent some of the most upbeat and best music the band has ever created. It’s like this is the one we were all waiting for.
It starts with the mundane: Sunrise in a Wal-Mart Parking Lot. A song about finding beauty in the ordinary, joy at a discount. Then, the love song Denise: Barzelay says he’d die just to hear her voice, conjures images of lifelong love and passion, and pours his heart out. And there’s a happy organ solo! I’ve never heard him sound so well adjusted, never heard the band sound so interesting, and never felt such waves of optimism, song after song. Yeah, he slows it down at points, but unlike past efforts, when this Clem Snide album slows down, you’re ready for it. And it doesn’t stay slow. They get right back up on their feet again and walk. Run. Skip.