Some bands hit the mark and some don't. Unfortunately, the Clumsy Lovers miss the figurative mark by about five thousand feet or 2,000 years (but who's really counting?). The Clumsy Lovers are a pseudo-Christian quintet that combines Celtic folk music with bluegrass and rock, with a penchant for jamming that makes it slightly reminiscent of Phish. After releasing a series of low-budget, DIY tour souvenirs, the group has made its first full-blown, widely available CD with After the Flood
. The results are absolutely intolerable. Very seldom does a band conjure up a sound comparable to the clawing of a chalkboard, with vocals that seem eager to out-cliché its tired lyrics, but this is one of those rare bands.
Sure, bluegrass requires great instrumental facility, and the Clumsy Lovers meet the formal demands of this genre. But one can only take so much scattered banjo picking in the service of trite alt-country mannerisms.
| CD Spotlight |
After the Flood
The Clumsy Lovers
| ℘ |
Everything about the Clumsy Lovers seems contrived. Hailing from the pubs of Vancouver, British Columbia, the group has cultivated a strictly Southern sound and delivers it with all the soulful delicacy one would expect from fellow Great White Northerners like Alan Thicke and Aldo Nova.
The most interesting track on the album, however, defies the cutesy-poo pseudo-bluegrass sound found in the other 14 tracks. "Amen" is a freight train, drum-driven, steam engine of a song with distorted vocals and fiddle-dripped interludes. Even here, the stubborn repetition of the word "Amen," however, eventually wear thin, and seems superfluous and out of place.
The rest of the album doesn't even scale those heights, qualifying as sentimental pap, devoid of substance. True to their billing, these lovers clumsily stumble through a Flood of rote ideas. •