Clearlake – Cedars

Intensely moving, Simon Raymonde-co-produced follow-up to 2001's Lido

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Clearlake are crucially compassionate. Jason Pegg’s voice betrays his own uncertainty but also the need to reach out to the listener. The opening “Almost The Same” rocks, but in a post-Neu! way. The lightness of touch balances out the often sinister lyrics (“I’d Like To Hurt You”). The heartbreaking “Keep Smiling” utilises Beatles harmonies as it decries conformity and compromise. The pinnacle is the extraordinary closing sequence of “It’s All Too Much” (excoriating self-hatred), “Treat Yourself With Kindness” (a hand offers to rock the unstable cradle) and “Trees In The City” (a final gesture towards hope). A beautiful record.

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