You found my first album!
From the Monolith Cocktail:
Pleasant Grove bedroom composer Samuel L. Clarke peaceably fashions a kitschy mix of observational and languorous musings on the ‘pains of being pure of heart’.
Like a low-rent Pavement recorded onto a well-worn cassette player, Clarke under the adopted moniker of fits. conducts a lo-fi symphony of poorly sounding distorted percussion, muffled Wurlitzer, spindly organ and psychedelic playtime melodies. All of which threatens to either wind down to a standstill or break off from lack of interest or energy.
On repeated listens – and due to its short running time you should give it at least a few listens through – the subtle and at times almost accidental sparks of Beatle-esque melody and sentiment, coupled with redolent hints of The Unicorns and Devo, won the Monolith Cocktail over.
From the very first seconds of the opener ‘Not Shine’, the ramshackle, awkward, but majestic-on-a-budget production does all it can to dampen the ambitions of Clarke; obscuring his plaintive slacker vocals to near faint trembling’s from a giddy ether. Deranged from a lack of sleep – as the progressively harassed chorus testifies – our protagonist willfully riles against the smashing cymbals and chopsticks-like organ accompaniment on that track, before resigning himself to the sorrowful state of affairs on the following fairground ditty, ‘Everything Can Be An Acronym’.
It grows stranger and more experimental as the album goes on; ‘How Come We Have Cars If We’re Not Going Anywhere’ sounds like a recording of a recording of Clarke played back on a windy verge, and ‘Interlude Insomniaque’ repeats a backward loop against an incessant undulating modulating wave as a tune threatens to break free.
A cover version of the relatively obscure Manchester Orchestra’s ‘"Colly Strings" rounds off the LP on a high (technically the ‘bonus track’). A paean and tribute of sorts to one of his ‘girlfriend’s favourite songs’, Clarke’s version is left to drift and build indolently to its final lovesick conclusion.
Linked together in a fey and delicate fashion, this is a modest songbook of ideas; most of which transcend the confines of the bedroom to promise something…well, something grander!
by Dominic Valvona, The Monolith Cocktail
(read the full article here: bit.ly/25dUHkE)