Clarence Clarity may not be a household name but he has quietly put out some of the most explosive pop music this decade with his 2015 debut No Now, followed up with his exciting new album THINK: PEACE.
It is rare that an artist is able to create their own world with an album, but Clarence does so, welcoming the listener to Clarityland fairly early on and establishing an atmosphere of wild and loud synths and fiery maximalist pop. From the very intro with ‘Adam and the Evil’, Clarence is sharp with ridiculous melodies, foreboding and thematic lyrics, and his unique style of mixing.
The album tackles dark themes of apocalypse and heartbreak that contrasts beautifully with its upbeat and poppy sound, creating a unique blend of uneasiness which sucks the listener in. While not as ambitious as his debut, it is more manageable, sitting at 11 songs and 29 minutes, and still features manic synth loops and weird cartoonish samples to go along with it.
While it does run into the problem of having several very similar sounding songs in the first half, it does recover with the song ‘Fold ‘Em/Silver Lake Reservoir’ incorporating interesting trip hop themes which continue into the darker and atmospheric final songs. Clarence tackles a bit of every genre in this second half, with slight calypso elements in ‘Law of Fives’ and a driving tape loop throughout the chilling and epic closer ‘2016.’
However, at moments it can seem a bit too bubblegum pop, especially songs like ‘Vapid Feels Ain’t Vapid’, where Clarence does not seem to be doing much outside of mixing to differentiate it from a basic pop melody. And while he deserves some credit for being a truly independent artist, sometimes the instrumentation can sound a bit cheap.
It may not be tackling too much and it may not be life-changing, but Clarence Clarity definitely deserves more recognition for elevating pop music to a new status and bringing bold, interesting ideas to a genre known for monotony. At the end of the day, what does anyone want more than a great pop song?
Image: Bethany Davison