US - Georgia - Full Moon 84 - 08/12/03
When you release a debut as amazing as Voice
Brother and Sister, it's hard to keep those top-notch records a-comin'. A follow up as good
as A Celebratory Arm Gesture is a fine
step, keeping the cracking tunes, spiralling woodwinds and gorgeous basslines from Derek Almstead,
but making the whole experience more song-based; less of the jams that tied the first album together
so seamlessly, but more solid tunes that stand up on their own to repeated listens.
Now Clemency. The trajectory of Zack Gresham and his ever-evolving backing band seems
to be clear: less experimentation, less crazy lo-fi psych-pop, and more 'mature', warm sounds.
Still a summer album though, Clemency is just more reflective, slow-burning, and has lashings of
glorious pedal steel.
I must confess to being initially disappointed on the first few listens, largely due to the
difference in sound from the first two records, but it lures you in. None of the songs in particular
stand out; it's just 45 minutes of nice country-rock.
I'm sure there's plenty out there more groundbreaking and exciting, but for reassuring, charming
songs, you can't go far wrong here.
Copyright © 2003 Tim Clarke