Tell Yourself You’re Going by Clementine Was Right album review by Gregory Walker for Northern Transmissions. The LP is now out via DSPs


Tell Yourself You’re Going

Clementine Was Right

“You told to world let me off / You watched the lightning take tall walks.” Clementine Was Right, a band of a whole slew of friends, fronted by Mike Young and Gion Davis, both seasoned poets, deals with some gritty and breath-taking stuff on their latest record, Tell Yourself You’re Going Home. Songs about death by wood chipper, an “Attic Full of Barbie Limousines,” laying “in the water till we’re dead,” they rarely tell you how you’re supposed to feel, but their evocative imagery and their rollicking rock n’ roll certainly get the point across.

“You always thought that light / it poured out like some kind of syrup / But it’s ketchup, so we’re fuckups, so what?” they sing on the second half of the albums, leading you to imagine the mess you make, after squeezing the bottle hard enough to cover your french fries in a late night diner. The effort that it took, to write such stunning and moving poetry, to arrange horns and lap steel and second and third vocals, to record across many state lines, as they did—and probably all the stories of how things didn’t necessarily go according to plan—is the backdrop for an album that is filled with pain and beauty that reflects a life lived on the edge, with the best of friends.

They name drop friends (and list a ton of them on their Bandcamp release in the credits), and the album is not so much a love letter as a life letter to the people that we love and lose and light up the sky like lightning with. “I didn’t / know your hands were cold, I didn’t / know my friends got old, I always / threw the peels of oranges out / somewhere in the snow.” There is one scene in the songs of two redwood trees on a beach, (reflective of some of their setting rich poetry,) a scene that almost anyone can relate to, be awed by. But they sing, “And I want to lie like I see everything.”

There is a humility to the poetry, and an electricity to the music, that captures the amazing range of the band. “It sounds like Wilco if they couldn’t afford dentists. It sounds like Titus Andronicus chasing Roy Orbison’s ghost through the fuzz,” they write in their Bandcamp notes. There’s flavor of emo, Americana, singer songwriter fair, and a good number of sweet, straight rock n roll guitar solos. It feels like they have captured something timeless and timely, in this record. With a little bit of Fargo, a little bit of Hunter S. Thompson, a little bit of Broken Social Scene. There’s a lot of North America in this Americana flavored album.

“Tell yourself you’re going home,” they sing the titular phrase in the final song, “imagine a fire you can wear as a coat.” Sounds both painful and glorious. If you like your albums with some pretty stellar poetic storytelling, if you like your music salted with catharsis, you might really enjoy this album of dark but relatable tunes. It’d be hard to get thirty people up on stage to play a live show, but it seems like their live show would be a pretty cathartic experience, as well. The marriage of poetry and rock n roll on this album is truly captivating. Give it a listen.

order Tell Yourself You’re Going by Clementine Was Right HERE

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