Clarence Clarity



by GooGooGajoob USER (13 Reviews)
October 14th, 2018 | 2 replies

Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's quite a feat to attempt explaining Clarence Clarity's music in words.

Clarence Clarity’s debut No Now has got to be one of the most remarkable releases of the decade. Clarence’s approach to music was that of no limits, often incorporating gimmicky production choices of late 90’s early 2000’s boy band pop, choral vocals while fusing elements of glitch electronica, hairy synths, RnB fused with extremities most found in metal. That was 2015’s No Now, an album that’s become a cult classic at this stage and left fans watering at the mouth for more material from Clarence Clarity.

However, Clarence hasn’t remained silent since his 2015 debut. Tracks such as Vapid Feels Are Vapid which appear on this album were released as singles as far back as 2016, followed by Fold Em’ and non-inclusions/b-sides such as Splitting Hairs. Also, not to forget Clarence’s production credits and collaboration with Rina Sawayama’s stellar 2017 EP titled ‘RINA.’ So for fans of CC since the splash of his debut, we’ve been treated pretty generously to more than plenty of Clarence Clarity content – so much so that maybe the excitement of hearing a ‘new’ Clarence Clarity release initially feels ‘familiar’ in the sense that most fans are already well acquainted to a lot of THINK: PEACE’s material.

Admittedly, this can leave this album feeling a lot less impactive and exciting as No Now was. Already familiar material such Vapid Feels Are Vapid, Naysayer and Next Best Thing at first stick out as clear highlights against tracks that Clarence kept for their debut on THINK: PEACE such as Tru(e) Love, Law of Fives and 2016 which are some of CC’s most straight forward collection of songs without his usual sonic explosive and transformative production, the more experimental elements that so much defined his debut.
However, THINK: PEACE I think goes toe to toe with Clarence’s debut, if not further by delivering an opposite of sorts to No Now in that CC has honed his craft by creating a starkly cohesive, much more linear listening experience that makes for a much more solid release than that of No Now.

Hear me out, because THINK: PEACE still isn’t straight-forward as I’d have it seem. THINK: PEACE is still full of odd detours and amalgamations of material much like No Now’s near hot-mess construction, the only difference being that Clarence seems to only cherry pick from the same handful of songs which appear and re-appear in odd fashion throughout the runtime of the album. Take for example the first sense of déj* vu when Adam & The Evil, the first opening song of the album, makes a reprise cameo after Naysayer, only 4 tracks into the album but now fit with new vocal passages and a new guitar solo to close. Or ‘Same"’ which is more akin to a remix that meshes the vocals of Naysayer against a much reworked ‘Same’ (from Clarence Clarity’s 2016 EP ‘Same’), fit with arena crowd cheer samples and an almost live version of Naysayer at the tail end. These strange self-fed loop holes in the record honestly though become half of its personality.

The songs themselves are more concise and straight forward with a lot less genre mashing for instead much sharper song-writing and often stickier, repeatable tunes. The most progressive tracks would have to be the aforementioned ‘Same"’ and ‘W€ Change’ which is as goofy as Meadow Hopping with its Nightmare Before Christmas instrumental passages and constantly shifting choruses. Fold Em’ sounds very similar to how it was released originally except for an absolutely satisfying extended outro that ends in what feels like flying across a glimmering ocean at the final minutes of sun down which segues into Tru(e) Love, a song that admittedly only works when listening to the album in succession as it acts as a breaker to the album with its almost serene garden of eden aesthetic.

Law of Fives acts as the Cancer In The Water from Clarence’s debut, albeit maybe with less of a lasting impact then how that track beautifully began the closing of No Now. However, 2016 quite possibly might be Clarence Clarity’s most emotional track. A simple keyboard phrase and his ghostly vocals before what feels like a rewind of passages ‘in time’ makes for quite an abruptive end to the record. No ties back to the intro track, no never-ending album, just a track that symbolises a much more typical album closer.

For those of you who’ve however heard THINK: PEACE and were disappointed with what you heard, I’d love to share an anecdote of my experience with Clarence Clarity which I think many of us can share just in case you’ve dipped out early.

When I first originally heard Clarence Clarity’s music, I honestly didn’t like it. It was chaotic, almost cheesy and just sickly dense. However, I’d honestly never heard anything like it – the only worthy comparative back in 2015 to what it might of sound akin to was maybe that of Vaporwave releases with its strong ‘aesthetic’ nature. But one by one, after dozens of listens, it began to click: Alive In The Septic Tank, then Buck-Toothed Particle Smashers, Off My Grid, Gospel Truth, more and more until I knew I wanted to go all in on his debut. Even then, No Now at first was like hitting a brick wall, near impenetrable except for the few songs I’d come to know. However, as the layers came off one by one, I honestly heard the record less of an experimental collage piece and instead as the best pop record and favourite record of 2015, quite honestly of the decade.

What I’m trying to get at is that Clarence Clarity, as insanely well-composed and sticky as his material is and can be, is not immediate. Even more bizarre is that THINK: PEACE, despite having: 1. Already been introduced and dived into Clarence Clarity’s music once before and 2. Having already grown to love the singles pre-released before inclusion on THINK: PEACE, I found THINK: PEACE just as perplexing despite its more simple nature. I wasn’t quite sold on the more tamed and straight-forward songs that made up THINK: PEACE and how my favourite singles were followed up with ethereal instrumental passages with subtle changes made to their intros such as the more subdued beginning of Vapid Feels Aren't Vapid. However, just as the case with No Now – THINK: PEACE needed just as much time and patience to fully cement itself. And if I can be completely honest, Vapid Feels Are Vapid, Fold Em’, Naysayer Godslayer, even Next Best Thing, I wasn’t impressed with any of these songs as singles initially. I’m not sure if this is only a personal experience with Clarence Clarity’s music or a shared one, but these songs for sure have grown quite fondly on me and no doubt in my mind does majority of THINK: PEACE hold CC’s best music yet.

Naysayer has got to be the ultimate nostalgic throw-back to NSYNC era dance pop with a devilishly clever chorus who’s chord phrasing and structure could be revelled the way people obsess over progressive song-writing. Meanwhile, Clarence has written himself an ode to ‘be the best,’ all the while embracing humour in his goal to not be ‘the next thing’ but ‘to be the best,’ that when the next best thing comes around – he’s already there. And the line about ‘wearing my human suit to impress’ followed by ‘it’s not the best’ is just ridiculously hilarious in that Clarence finds he can impress people with his art just by reminded us that he’s still a ‘human.’

I’m honestly just personally taken back by Clarence Clarity’s attention to detail. While No Now is a far more explosive and possibly more unique of a listen, THINK: PEACE stays true to itself by attempting to be a much more pop centred album by removing the genre-hoping of No Now’s almost compilation-styled 20-track runtime. Whether there’s a pop audience who’d be ready for a THINK: PEACE is something I’d question whether Clarence Clarity has really achieved a more palatable recreation of his music for any pop mainstream listeners, but the results are just as astounding as when most of us first discovered Clarence Clarity. Clarence cares a lot about his listeners, enough to make sure even the songs we’ve already come to know and learn he makes sure to still hone down to a better craft with updated versions and revisions of them and leaves them for perfect display in much more focused form on THINK: PEACE’s more tightly wound 11-track run-time.

Now there’s two incredible full-length releases to be in awe of by one of the most unique artists’ of our time. Enjoy!

Recent reviews by this author
Deafheaven Ordinary Corrupt Human LoveDeath Grips Year of the Snitch
Too Birds I'm Going to DieToo Birds Where My Jacket
Blur The Magic WhipDead Vandals MOON UNIT
user ratings (56)
related reviews

No Now

Comments:Add a Comment 
Contributing Reviewer
October 14th 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

That summary is exactly why I avoided trying to review this album ahahaha.

October 14th 2018


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This took me days...

Digging: The Voidz - Virtue

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2017
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy