CLAY FEET - TOTEM BELLS
assured that Cambridge band Twelve Clay Feet grew up on the likes
of Syd Barrett and The Byrds, which may well be true. But that
appreciation of folky, acoustic psychedelica hasn’t translated
into their music, which is as far removed from those influences,
and indeed the prog rock, Led Zeppelin flavours that we’re
also told to expect.
What the band do sound like is very commercial American
rock. And to be fair, they do it pretty well, with Ian Jeffs vocals
being suitably gruff while the band provide a solid backing. It
inevitably leads to comparisons from many critics (and here I
go, compounding the offence) to… erm… Nickelback.
It’s not really a fair comparison – there are plenty
of other more respectable hard rock acts that you could just as
easily name, and there’s nothing as annoyingly glib as (insert
random Nickelback single here) to be found here.
The album opens up with barnstorming rockers Cornfed
and Tribal Girls, but the band seem
more at home with more downbeat numbers like Sarajevo
Bombs, Give Yourself Away
and Sour Rum, emotively brooding vocals
matched by moody music that might not be reinventing the wheel,
but is undeniably effective and impressive. The album winds up
with blues-stomper Red Moon, which doesn’t
quite hit the mark – it feels like a weird point to suddenly
vary up the musical style, and sounds like a band stepping out
of their comfort zone – no bad thing if you can pull it
off, but I’m not sure they quite manage that here.
Totem Bells is an album that will never win the
approval of hipster indie music critics, but should nevertheless
satisfy anyone who likes their rock music with foot-tapping tunes
that come with a dark edge. One to watch perhaps…
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