Right now I realise I've been having a pretty prolific month in terms of posts and there's a good reason for that - I've been buying an awful lot of records, and good ones at that. There have also been a handful of new things, and occasionally I like posting stuff up fairly quickly so to a newcomer it might seem that this blog is UP TO DATE and CUTTING EDGE (spoiler: it's anything but). With that in mind, here is only the second 2014 release of new music that I've posted so far this year.
So Cleft released a debut album, and decided to make the artwork absolutely great. Look at how happy that elephant is! The prison gang-style Cleft belly tattoo only adds to it. More album covers with elephants as the focal point, please.
The artistic style of the cover continues into the gatefold. Also, there is a cup of tea and some houmous. I bloody love houmous. This is all going pretty well, isn't it?
Eeeeh, yes. Round it out with bright orange vinyl? Oh Cleft, you tick all my boxes aesthetically. The back cover is, as you may have noticed, a mirror image of the front - excluding the elephant. Very pleasant. There was a little personalised note included with the record to inform me of pressing info (#122/300, numbers nerds) and that I have "accidentally joined the secret turbo-prog society", which features activities such as "eating pitta & houmous" and "sweating profusely". This is getting creepy now, it's like they know me.
"Turbo-prog", then, is Cleft's own way of describing their music and it's pretty accurate. You can practically feel the beardiness of prog bearing down on you, except the beard is made of snakes. This album is ridiculous, in the best possible way. The two-piece make jerky instrumental songs with the kind of precision timing that belies what is probably a very close friendship. Musically it's not a million miles away from And So I Watch You From Afar, to give you an idea, but Cleft very much have a sound of their own. There's something undeniably gleeful about the music they make and I love it for that. There is but one song with vocals on this album, that being Elephant In The Bar Room. They're kind of cheesy, and the first time I listened to the track I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Over time, though, I've realised it suits the album. It may still not be my favourite song, but I understand why it sounds how it does. In truth, my favourite song is the one that precedes it - the magnificent Ghost Thighs. The entire album is pay what you want from their bandcamp, and it's definitely worth a punt. I wouldn't be surprised if it crept its way into my list of top albums of this year by the time 2015 comes around. It's just that good..