16 November 2005

clearlake - "it's getting light outside" (from the amber lp, import available for preorder here.)

in brief : plucks from the air the enthusiasm, bitterness, and anxiety that make this an astonishing time of year.

this is surely reflects on me personally rather than being a verifiable fact and is another sure sign that i'm in the throes of the affective fallacy, but, gee, this record sounds a lot like a christmas record. that a clearlake record should sound wintry comes as no surprise really. this is a band, after all, whose first two singles were called "winterlight" and "don't let the cold in," and whose two most recent albums will have been released in season. still, there's nothing in the lyric to justify such a conclusion; the music is something else entirely.

the ridiculously buoyant bass drum is like phil spector channeled through low. everything else about the record is abrupt and anticipatory : clipped guitars, charging chords, slicing strings. and i've not even mentioned the sleighbells yet.

no, this defies the general categorization of "christmas record"; this is instead music for the two weeks before christmas. this is what the city sounds like when you're just trying to squeeze through the sidewalks, when you're waiting on line to purchase those last gifts as time ticks away inexorably. it is a joyful anxiety, though; there is a reason for it all. "it's getting light outside!" jason pegg cheers, and though the days are still getting darker at this point--and people have forgotten how to walk, and the christmas music is driving you insane, and the commercialization is too much to bear, and, and--one can't help but think that he's onto something.

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