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Let It Go

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Album Review

Critics normally prefer an album to contain both good songs and bad songs — it makes the album easier to review, since you can compare and contrast. So the Clarks' latest effort is kind of irritating. How can all 12 songs be such perfectly formed slabs of emotional power pop? And for that matter, how can a band this good have remained largely a Pittsburgh-area phenomenon for so long? No matter. What's important is that from the huge and cathartic "Snowman" that opens the album to the gently soulful "If Memory Serves" that closes it, Let It Go just moves from strength to strength: "I'm a Fool" is a confession of romantic helplessness that veers from spare funk to roadhouse country-rock; "Born Too Late" name-checks various historical heroes over a shimmering bed of 12-string guitar; and "Flame" juxtaposes looped drums with jazzy guitar chords and a subtlety brilliant bassline. No, the lyrics aren't very deep; songs with titles like "Chasin' Girls" and "Better Off Without You" don't offer any surprises. But who needs surprises? There's enough pure pleasure in this album to make you give up sophistication for good.

Biography

Formed: 1988 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Since their formation in Pittsburgh in 1988, the Clarks have been grinding out country-influenced garage rock. Though guitarist/vocalist Scott Blasey, guitarist Rob Hertweck, bassist Greg Joseph, and drummer David Minarik built their early reputation on college campuses, their straight-ahead rock sound seemed equally compatible with commercial radio and barhalls across the rust belt. Their debut album, I'll Tell You What Man, produced a regional hit, "Help Me Out," and gained unusually strong radio...
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Let It Go, The Clarks
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