This is a big album. How, you ask. Well I imagine that you do just for the sake of getting this review off the ground.. Firstly this is no ‘edited highlights’, there are 34 tracks that span the years, that have a range of musical styles, that goes from bands and artists you’ll definitely know to those you may not have heard of. so as well as being a romp through the cornfield of music from The North, it’s also a voyage of discovery for there are gems here that may turn you onto music you’ve not heard before. Obviously I’m not going to cover all of this but I am going to pick my personal gems.
These gems start with the first track Team Picture’s ‘Baby Rattlesnake’; a track I’ve never actually heard before (I know, I have no excuse) that grabs that part of my musical brain which positively adores The Cocteau Twins and Kate Bush. We are talking here about a warped sound with vocal that astound, that are not just words but another musical instrument.
And now to the mesmirising dream pop of Van Houton with ‘IDK’. Now this is one classy band; great tunes, lyrics that compel and playing that is off the hook. This track has all of those, and guitar playing that will astound.
And now another track I’ve never heard before ‘Withdrawal’ from Fehit. A track that is hitting both the DIY sound and the post-punk vibes I love. It’s all angular metallic guitar, sounds that are off-kilter and aggressive. Avalanche Party’s ‘Porcelain’ is their glorious psychy garage sound in a nutshell, it’s a riot people.
Hearing Gawjuss’s ‘Yella’ is like seeing a best friend after a long time away from them; you suddenly get a flood of happiness. The band’s alternative rock with that brilliant touch of the off-kilter, the unexpected is glorious. Hamer’s ‘All You Could Hope For’ – another track I’ve never heard before is a bloody glorious riot that sounds like The Cramps on speed or punk surf.
I couldn’t miss out Talkboy’s ‘LOCALS’. Those of you who have been keeping up will know I generally don’t like Indie but Talkboy are a band who’ve grabbed me. This track is a short sharp blast of aggressive indie rock with a punky edge.
And now to the songs from the Clue Club releases. Clue Club was a year long subscription that got you tracks from bands that were not ‘signed’ to Clue.
My first gem from these is ‘Hannibal’ by Pepe Sylvia; a band that made sad songs that somehow don’t fit into any one particular genre. This track has moments of shoegaze but it also has these angelic dual female vocals that are so sweet it hurts. Given that the band appear to have gone away this is a wonderful reminder of what was an extremely talented band.
‘French Kiss’ from Mini Skirt is one of those tracks that seems to be both retro and of now. It shimmers, it charms. Now don’t ask me anything about this band/these artists for I know nothing about them but I do know this is one gorgeous song.
The widescreen shoegaze of Colour of Spring’s ‘Frail’ is haunting, it’s achingly good. This is going to rip your soul into pieces.
Look I’m aware that there’s much I haven’t included like more recent signings Pit Pony and Bored At My Grandma’s House, past signings NARCS, TRASH and Forever Cult, and of course The Wedding Present who Clue ‘inherited’ in their recent label merger. But there’s such a wealth of great music that I’d end up reviewing the whole album. And this would be an epically long review, so I decided to cover a few gems that grabbed me.
I should however shout out loud and clear that whatever your musical tastes you’ll find something for you in this album.
What this shows is that there is great music in The North and that Clue are one of those labels that don’t just concentrate on one particular kind of music but do pick great music. This is essential listening.
Buy physical copies of the album and other Clue 10th Birthday merch: https://cluerecords.myshopify.com/collections/clue-merch