Recommended by us on 30th April 2009.
· ‘Actor’ was co-produced by Clark and John Congleton (Modest Mouse,
Polyphonic Spree) and features eleven new songs, all written and arranged by
· ‘Actor’ takes the ambitious compositional and sonic underpinnings of Clark’s debut
as a starting point and never looks back. The arrangements are more
masterful, the songwriting grander, the performances ever more
confident and inspired.
· Clark developed an idiosyncratic writing process for ‘Actor’, immersing
herself in some of her favorite films – ‘Badlands’, ‘Pierrot le Fou’, ‘The
Wizard of Oz’, ‘Stardust Memories’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ - and beginning
each song as a secret film score, then slowly giving it independence as its
structure and lyrics came fully into focus. The resulting eleven tracks are as
cinematic as pop songs can be, but the movie is a private one, revealing its
storyline in hushed, cunning couplets and cascades of scathing guitar.
· Here is a record to listen to with your eyes closed. Melodies are transposed
and inverted. The fantasy of Disney is juxtaposed with the sweep of
Morricone, David Mamet’s unsettling dramatic form and the alienation
of Philip Roth. Igor Stravinsky scores Roger Corman’s horror flicks.
· ‘The Strangers’ starts off as a deceptively dulcet elegy for a lost love, then
suddenly capsizes under a flood of distortion. ‘Actor Out Of Work’ is a
devastating sonic kiss-off, complete with slyly poisonous lyrics and steamrolling
guitars. The strings and woodwinds at the opening of ‘Marrow’ might be
escorting Dorothy to the Emerald City, or straight into the flying monkeys’
clutches. The crackerjack band, including supporting turns by McKenzie
Smith and Paul Alexander of Midlake, has the crunch of a tank and the
grace of a chamber ensemble.
· Available on CD and vinyl (housed in a gatefold sleeve)
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