Although Jonathan Clancy isn't new to recording or releasing music he would like us all to see 'Vicious', His Clancyness' first output on Fat Cat records, as his debut.
Following on from his previous bands , some mix-tapes and compilations of singles, 'Vicious' is His Clancyness' first proper album and it does really feel like an album; like a set of songs imagined for a single recording with strong themes, high points, lows and the rest of it.
'Vicious' was born out of Detroit, Michigan which is the spiritual home of record producer Chris Koltay. Koltay is well known on the Detroit scene and has previously produced for the likes of Electric Six & Jamaican Queens, both Detroit bands, as well as the Talib Kweli and Akron/Family. Jonathan and Chris met on the road gigging and hit it off in a big way. Jonathan decided that Chris was the right producer for the album and that's how Detroit became the location. Although the artist went to the producer and his studio, the city really began to seep into the record and its themes. Detroit is basically a completely rundown, destroyed city but, out of the destruction, new green shoots are showing and this feeling of beginnings and ends have translated into the album.
Opening track 'Safe Around the Edges' sets the scene - Jonathan's laid back vocal and the band's abstract choppy rhythms are topped with the lyric "I've been searching for a Goldrush" almost announcing his arrival as an artist. The chorus splays out becoming more sing-along and wide with the contradictory lyric of "move towards the edge to feel more safe".
Jonathan's writing shines again on stripped back track 'Avenue' with its dark whirling strings and military snare while Spector-esque production soars on instrumental track 'Castle Sand Ambient'.
On 'Machines' Jonathan shows a Julian Casablancas-esque sneer as he delivers abstractly, "Oh, I stand like a dog/ Until I'm buried by the absence/ Only butchered by delivery/ For the outside world I see" over a droning trance of bells and drums reminiscent of early Arcade Fire.
Critics will be throwing in the Kurt Vile comparisons left, right and centre, but rather than Kurt being an influence here, I would say the pair are more like kindred spirits striving to create unpretentious music that transcends reality and carries us away like all the great albums of the past have done and still do. Think The Jesus and Mary Chain or Spacemen 3.
His Clancyness are the perfect Fat Cat signing and slot into the roster nicely alongside Sigur Rós, Animal Collective, Frightened Rabbit and We Were Promised Jetpacks.
His Clancyness are Jonathan Clancy, bassist Paul Pieretto, drummer Jacopo Borazzo, synth/keyboardist Giulia Mazza and second bassist/vocalist Emanuela Drei.
Find out more about His Clancyness. You can watch the video for His Clancyness-Zenith Diamond read our interview with Jonathan Clancy from back in September or take a look at our Introducing: Artist Spotlight Feature.
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