“Clues” is the self-titled debut album for Montreal indie poppers Clues. Brain child of ex-Unicorn Alden Penner and ex-Arcade Fire member Brendan Reed, the quintet includes multi-instrumentalists Ben Borden, Lisa Gamble, and Nick Scribner. Forming in 2007, Clues has established a following despite the use of any social media promotion such as Myspace, Facebook and Twitter.
The album's opening track, entiled “Haarp,” is reminiscent of early Flaming Lips circa Clouds Taste Metallic. An incomprehensive lyric begins the song but is quickly disrupted by the clash of a sole cymbal followed by rumbling guitar distortion. Penner’s falsetto vocals peak in periodically throughout the track, setting a steady tone for the dense layer of guitars and drumming that saturate the album.
“Remember Severed Head,” begins with an almost robotic instrumentation subtly joined by a clanky marching band drum beat before churning into a very “Unicorns” sound lullaby. The lyrics “who here wants to sleep in the dragon’s mouth, who here wants to feel” are also sung on the album’s eighth track, “Cave Mouth” which sounds more like a refined version of “Remember Severed Head.”
A tedious piano riff formulates “Perfect Fit,” one of the album’s catchiest tracks. “Elope,” is the LP’s longest and softest track---a serenity level comparable to that when listening to Simon and Garfunkel is sure to transpire. Penner’s quiet vocal amidst soft organ and gentle guitar strumming is a change of pace for the album before resuming into the funkiest album track, “Cave Mouth.”
The Independent, a new 300 capacity venue on E 5th St. and I-35. If these guys are as fun as their debut album, their live shows are not to be missed.