Clapton Fox - Amazing Thunderstorm - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Clapton Fox - Amazing Thunderstorm

by Nic Friar Rating:4.5 Release Date:2011-08-01

Imagine, if you will, a painter stood before a plain canvas about to unleash an onslaught of emotion and themes through brush stroke and colour. No rules really apply and the artist's only limitation is the size of the actual surface he is painting on. When the canvas is full there is no room for new elements and he can only paint over what is already there. Unfortunately, Clapton Fox didn't have this concept in mind when they recorded Amazing Thunderstorm as layer upon layer of instruments crowd each other in some sort of musical themed Royal Rumble.

The album is over-complex and feels like a psychedelic easyJet ride piloted by a 'troubled artist' trying to impress his mum or ex-girlfriend: "Look at what I've done... Look... LOOK!!!". At times the structure of the music is so haphazard, it's as if the band have some how captured George Clinton, Dizzy Gillespie, Brian Eno and Blur, dropped them into some futurist music-food processor and connected it to the latest version of Garageband.

The opener 'Ain't No Justice in the Sky I' leads with a synth-heavy, dream-like, jazz bass charge. An abrupt break changes the entire atmosphere and a sense of relief comes to the listener when the airy vocals return. The title track, 'Amazing Thunderstorm', almost feels like a skit track, just filling the gaps between songs with a repetitive, metaphorical, storm-like sound. The most impressive track is 'Procrastination'. From its 'mobile phone grunge' to its head-nodding groove bass, to a 60's pop/Thelonious Monk/Lost in Space break, the balance of changing sound and pace works well with sombrely delivered lyrics.

Every now and then, from all the confusion of the wide brushstrokes and multi-coloured landscapes, comes moments of clarity which bring your attention back to the primary colours of the music. You do find yourself nodding your head or feeling the build up from the eminent dub drop but they are too few and far between. Much too often you will drift off and wish you had a pair of musical scissors to cut out the little gems of rhythm or melody from the collage of complicated sound.

Categorising things is a safety bracket for both listener and recording artist. If you like 'electro' and 'folk' music, when you read that an album is described as 'electro-folk' you can be pretty confident you're going to like it. The problems lie with overcomplicated categories becoming combined to create an all new Ultimate Genre. It seems as if hyphens are the new cool keyboard character on the scene and everyone should move towards a multi-genre platform to keep up. Amazing Thunderstorm seems to typify this. It feels like it is some sort of yobbish trouble maker sat at the back of the pub, screaming at the first person that looks at it: "What you looking at!?!? You calling me post-pop-jazz-psychedelic-indie-new-old-wave-fusion or somtethin'?!?!... Come on!! Try and put me in a genre!!... GO ON... I FUCKING DARE YA!!!!!!!!!"

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