Clues are an indie pop band hailing from Montreal, Canada. After the departing of Bethany Or, the three remaining musicians came together to form the five part group the band is today. Ben Borden, Lisa Gamble, Nick Scribner, Alden Penner and Brenden Reed make up Clues, with this album being their 2009 self-titled debut. Despite being formed in 2007, this is the only record I have seen from them, which may be a sign of dismemberment, or perhaps they're gearing up for something brilliant. Who know, eh?
For me, this album is a great balancing act between the mainstream and the unique, which is something I don't happen across very often. In some songs there are very mainstream melodies and singing, and in others there is stuff I've never heard before. If I were to choose, I'd say there is slightly more unique stuff, but can that ever be a bad thing? There are lots of styles that back this up, from the slow ballad to the fast-paced pop number, which keeps the album fresh-faced and full of variety. The songs are also floating in the muffled lo-fi world, and as such feel oddly old considering the time of production. Overall, I guess I fell for the strangely nostalgic sound these guys produce.
One of the greatest songs on the album, 'Perfect Fit', is a fantastic musical journey that epitomises all the elements I've mentioned, from the merging of unique and mainstream to the old and new. The track starts with a very old fashioned sounding piano melody. Fast paced and tense, I couldn't help but imagine running down a dark Victorian street, chasing a mysterious criminal from the scene of a crime. Our concentration is broken by singing, which leads back into another adrenaline pumping bout with the piano. You would think this would make up the whole song, but effortlessly, Clues manage to bring in amazingly mainstream vocals and backing melodies. Rather than annoying though, the band is very clever in making the themes and sounds work together. The old piano plinks transform effortlessly into a rhythm for the second half of the track.
The lyrics and vocals are very surreal, but very accessible. The singing is quite often very high, which heightens the sense of a dream-like, floaty state of mind. At other points on the album though, the aggressive beats and instrumental rythmns are very promenant, like the start of 'Approach the Throne'. Clues are also good at having both dark and happy vibes to one song. There will be a climactic section that sounds very dark and eerie, which will suddenly break away from this clouded cloak and burst into the light. Thoroughly enjoyable though, I must admit. Another high point of the album for me, was the halfway point of the track 'In the Dream', for no reason other than it is absolutely brilliant. The singer breaks into French, but that didn't stop me enjoying the sound!
If you're looking for something surreal and dreamy that breaks away from the norm while retaining some mainstream sensibilities, check this out. Clues are a professional balancing act that effortlessly pull off both dark and happy, and experimental and mainstream, from the uniue 'Perfect Fit' to the Coldplay-esque 'You Have My Eyes Now'. A fantastic record, if you can find this album, get it. Highly reccomended.