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Album Review

Clearlake hooked up with ex-Cocteau Twins bass player Simon Raymonde to produce their long-awaited sophomore effort, Cedars. They want to brighten things up a bit and Cedars aims to uncap the overcast shadows of their native England, but that doesn't mean it's a happy occasion throughout. Vocalist Jason Pegg sifts through emotions of loss, self-hatred, and insanity, and while that may go against Cedars' lush instrumentation, feelings of optimism glows underneath all its darkness for a beautifully therapeutic set of songs. They've added a bit of sparkle and edge to what they did with Lido and nostalgia has never sounded so good. A thick psychedelic mess of guitars and percussion rebounds off flimsy string arrangements for Clearlake's overall gauzy pop sound. "Come into the Darkness" and "The Mind Is Evil" bounce and flow according to Pegg's humorsome disposition. As musicians, Clearlake designs an abstract portrait on Cedars. It's not as cheeky as Pulp and not nearly as abrasive as British Sea Power; however, Clearlake is equally provocative. They keep production simple in order to make room for each instrument to flourish, and such a move allows Cedars to experience such varying emotions. Raymonde's touch alone has given Clearlake the confidence to derive their own dynamic guitar pop and Cedars basks in its divine Britpop qualities. As much as it is dramatic, Cedars isn't a tough, cohesive album and that's okay. When you have a band as honest as Clearlake, words speak for themselves.


Formed: January, 2000 in England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Formed in the English seaside town of Hove, Clearlake's eccentric take on music has baffled, bewildered, and beguiled both the press and public since they debuted with the "Winterlight" single in January 2000 on the Domino offshoot label Dusty Company. Jason Pegg (vocals/guitar/keyboards), who had moved to the town to attend art college, played in oddball combos the Fish Brothers and Not a Bit of Wood before forming Clearlake with college friend Sam Hewitt (keyboards/samples). Bassist David Woodward...
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Cedars, Clearlake
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