Cliffs of Insanity - bill, you're only human - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Cliffs of Insanity - bill, you're only human

by James Weiskittel Rating:8 Release Date:2016-06-11

John Dufilho has been a fixture of the American Indie-Rock scene for the better part of two decades.  From releasing a handful of records with the Deathray Davies to his stint as drummer for the Apples in Stereo, Dufilho has paid his rock’n’roll dues and then some.  His new band, Clifffs, is the perfect example of progression by way of digression, as their new album bill, you’re only human distills a myriad of classic punk influences down to the bare bones, perfecting the art of ‘how to get to the point’ along the way.

The album opens with the driving “Portland to Vermont”, a four chord, fuzz induced romp that essentially sets the tone for what is to follow.  “Underneath” with it’s poetically esoteric refrain of  “I’m not getting older, I’m not getting younger” perfectly evokes that Saturday-morning-melancholy that the Ramones once so easily induced.  Other notable highlights include the frenzied “I’m Your Ghost” and the lo-fi ode to the moment “I’m In Love With Tonight”, with both songs displaying a deceivingly broad sonic spectrum for this self-professed minimalist band.  

In fact, there isn’t a single track on bill, you’re only human that runs past the three minute mark (further underscoring Clifffs apparent devotion to the bare necessities of songwriting). The band’s penchant for brevity notwithstanding, it must be said that while the forward-looking “Future Tense” closes the album strongly, the album cleverly induces a slight sense of unfinished business, begging for a repeat.

Simple, understated and lo-fi are terms that often get bandied about by musicians, but as anyone who has ever attempted to write a song knows, it’s a whole lot easier said than done.  bill, you’re only human is an understated gem; the kind of record that is oft-attempted but rarely pulled off; an infectiously rewarding sonic uppercut that never even thinks about overstaying its welcome.

Not unlike that old cassette you found left in the stereo of your first used car, Clifffs have provided a tape-deck flashback via bill, you’re only human that works on just about every level.  This is ‘garage’ rock personified; simple, direct and undeniably inspired songs that get while the gettin’ is good; a debut album from a band that sounds like they’ve been at it for years.  

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet