At Your Leisure
We get so obsessed with the details in music these days that it’s easy to forget the power of stuff that just makes you smile and move. While the newest record from Clearance isn’t saying that much new, it’s the energy behind it that truly defines the band. With this in mind however, Clearance bring a lot of depth to their sound, but you may not even notice that until repeat listens.
The carefree fun of “Chances Are” give its rock an explosive momentum and let every little shift in the tone feel powerful and exciting. Though it’s pretty straightforward in terms of writing, the little details here and elsewhere on the album keep it lively and intriguing on repeat listens. Despite the ferocious vocals behind “Destination Wedding” however, there’s something between the mix and held-back tone of the instrumentation that keeps the song too dry for its own good.
“Frozen Orange / No Wonder” brings out a wondrous 90s luster in its sound that emulates greats from the era while bringing a uniquely absurd lyricism to keep the track interesting. As the track moves on to more aggressive rock, there’s a fun tenacity to the rock to chart new territory in the band’s sound. Interestingly however it’s the dynamite energy of “Had A Fantastic” and its explorative lyricism that stands even taller than the nearly five-minute epic before it. This clear vision and the spirit behind it make for a song that holds nothing back. Even “Rumored Sequel” brings its own share of eccentric licks and fun wordplay to bounce things along, and escape the album’s often jaded delivery in other parts. With the distortion really hitting its most dirty and washed out, the feedback roars back in the final chorus for something loud and proud.
With a bit of Oasis and wholesome rock cheeriness, “Haven’t You Got the Time?” is a surprisingly old-school track. Though it’s modern production does a lot to make the sound feel right, the lyrics may seem a little too bland for some. “Another Arrow” would already be a fun and moving track between any of its sections but it’s the way it shifts in tempos throughout the song that make it so enthralling. Even its tension-filled bridge moves in unexpected ways to make the song a track that hits as hard on home listens as it clearly will live.
“Days Underwater” straddles its vintage influences with modern sensibilities to great effect, pulling out musical moments that would’ve never been possible a few decades ago. As they push this spirit through their blooming and often shrieking guitar solos, Clearance hit highs for the record that are hard to beat. The upbeat and often off-kilter writing of “Gallery Glare” keeps things light and leans into the Brit-pop influence of the record to great effect. Though inherently pop, Clearance write this way wholeheartedly to make their music enjoyable first.
As the guitars roar in “On The Doorstep” the fast bluesy rock keep the song on a dynamic path. While the feeling of the song is definitely on a high here, it does feel a little more predictable than other tracks. “Bird’s-Eye View (Of the Back of the Room)” lives up to the complexity of its name, for a song with a strange and dense arrangement to make it as catchy as it is layered. While individual pieces may be a little familar here, the spirit behind them is contagious.
Words by Owen Maxwell