This is one of the great records of 2020. The Tara Clerkin Trio have an extraordinary otherness about them, the music just is. In places pretty, in places pretty strange, it’s optimistic, odd-shaped, open-minded, melodic, mesmerising. It’s one of those records that doesn’t need to be that loud – it makes the change without the volume.
Tara Clerkin Trio are from the bohemian side of Bristol, and feel like the spiritual children of Movietone, Crescent, Planet Records and all of that. Their label, Laura Lies In is based in Glasgow – it always feels like there’s a new Bristol Glasgow connection. Elsewhere described as similar to that directorial effect of filming at double speed and then slowing down for playback, the record triumphantly ambles along with the expert assurance of people who know exactly what they’re all about.
Slightly jazz in places, the record opens with a jovial Moondoggy cacophony called What? Why not? In The Room which follows comes in with a gorgeous vocal brass arrangement that goes the distance and then some. Helenica is all about overlapping rhythms and playful mechanical sounds, it could almost be a Pierre Bastien track. I Know He Will mixes permanent chords with an evolving vocal and found sounds, super nice.
Gold Bar hints at the kind of slowed-down dubbiness that will always be part of the Bristol that I love. Any Of These is mysterious, repetitive, sexy. There Will Be Time, with clarinet playing that is very Rachel from Movietone, closes us out but not really because as soon as you finish with it there’s something suddenly missing and you need more.
I feel like I need to know more about this record but in a way knowing less would be ok too. A record that exists disconnected from the moronic times that we live in, optimism as resistance, extraordinary and one-off. In love with it.
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