In a world of derivative rock bands and cookie cutter pop stars Clarence Clarity defies all classification; his 2015 twenty track debut, No Now, conquered subjects as wide ranging as cancer, religion and incest via lush melodies hijacked by walls of sound akin to an excitable child with a Korg Kaossilator. It was exhilarating, ballsy and fucking bonkers with a seasoned weirdness that begged the question of where on earth the London-based instrumentalist would go next. Well, in what might possibly be the worst segue ever, turns out Clarence is going nowhere on this planet, opting instead for interplanetary rhythms on second record LEAVE EARTH, with ‘Fold ‘Em‘ being just a tantalising taste of what’s to come.
The track is a beautiful mess. ‘I’m folding you, like cash in an urn’ Clarence croons delicately over the cacophony of colourful clatters, barely squeezing through the overblown synths like he’s wrestling with a sentient N64 that’s sick of him pushing his buttons. At the forty-second mark the track breaks down with the head massaging cheeps of birds; you can almost feel the sun beating down onto the white sands with palm trees swaying in the warm breeze before BAM! 404 this beach cannot be found. The instrumental kicks you squarely in the crotch sending you flying backwards down a gaudy rabbit hole in which the Mad Hatter lies in a pool of his own blood leaving Clarence Clarity to take his place at the head of the table.
Following a solid verse by Tampa-based rapper SHADI, ‘Fold ‘Em’ concludes with the transcendental echoes of a gospel choir warbling over a lilac sea of Windows 95 logos and Renaissance sculptures. It’s an assault on the eardrums that’s a lot to take in but the sickly sweet melody tickles the pleasure centre so much that you’ll be hitting that ‘play’ button until it becomes so worn you’ll only know where it is due to the placement of the rewind and fast forward.
If post-No Now singles such as ‘Vapid Feels Are Vapid’ and ‘Same’ are anything to go by (the latter of which headlined an EP that purely featured the same track five times) then LEAVE EARTH is set to be an alt-glitch-pop masterpiece. Clarence Clarity is an artist that will divide opinion but Christ, he convinced me.
Written By: Matthew Barbard
Photo by: Dempsey Thomas