Another Happy Ending Label: Razor & Tie
I've been following this "local" Pittsburgh band for a few years now and though this is their fifth release and second on Razor and Tie, one thing is evident: They have finally captured that energy as a live band in the studio. The Clarks' sound goes back and forth between middle America, ala Petty and Mellencamp, to bands like the Kinks and Dire Straits. Yet somehow they maintain some sort of modern edge like Train and Better Than Ezra. Most of all the Clarks make rock music like it should be made -- straightforward, catchy and energetic.
"Maybe" is a perfectly crafted pop/rock song that will hook you in right from the start. "On Saturday" is a funky number that makes even people like me with no rhythm want to dance. "Superstar" shows off the versatile vocal chops of frontman Scott Blasey, but it's the bass line by Greg Joseph and vocal harmonies in the chorus that take this song to another level. Dare I say that in the right hands, this could be a huge hit song. "Hey You" is about someone comtemplating suicide and is equal parts haunting and touching. "Wasting Time" builds from a loungy ballad into an almost rock anthem feel and "Twist My Arm" has a bluesy alt-country feel with a super-catchy chorus.
One thing producer Justin Niebank and guitarist Rob James have done is add lots of "candy" to the songs. There is slick guitar work and production all through this disc that just brings each song to life and lets Blasey paint beautiful pictures. As I've said in many of my reviews, I'm a songwriter who appreciates great songs. And as great songs go, the Clarks write them but more importantly, they deliver them. Give this one a spin -- you won't be disappointed.