Clearlake | WIG117 | Released: 01/01/00
Very little you thought you knew about Clearlake will have prepared you for the power and depth of Cedars. The thrilling Almost The Same, disturbed and witty Mind Is Evil, chilling I'd Like To Hurt You, uplifting Treat Yourself With Kindness, moving Trees In The City - and seven other songs of an equally high standard - each pay testament to the quality of this beautiful album, conceived by the band in France and Brighton and produced with former Cocteau Twin, Simon Raymonde. Jason Pegg's incisive songs explore subjects rarely visited articulately in pop since peak-period Smiths - madness, death, loss, self-loathing and self-healing among them. The outlook may occasionally be overcast but it's offset by the tremendous therapeutic clout of gorgeous melody and forensically observed lyrics.
Clearlake also boast an expanding palette of raw and evocative sonics: guitars that describe small orchestras of feedback, woozily-arranged strings, chiming antique pianos and rich, layered vocal harmonies all recorded with a garagey bravado. ''We're constantly trying to find the exact mid-point between raw chaos and Tin Pan Alley,'' says Jason. ''We want to offer the opportunity within every song to go somewhere special. We always aim really high. Even if we occasionally miss our target, we always land somewhere interesting.'' Cedars has landed somewhere marvellous. Enjoy your stay there.