My brain was barely able to handle the beginning of Clam Fake by Salon de la Guerre. The first song feels like an incongruent puzzle of sound that is serving multiple levels of dissonance. I can surmise that the opening song will turn off at least half the people who have no idea what to expect. It sounds off time, the singing style is unconventional and if you can dance to it then you should be on America’s Got Talent. I have to hand it to de la Guerre for giving zero shits and having me at the very least captivated to what I was listening to. If there is one thing I always mention it's that artists need to be different and I have to tip my hat when it appropriate, In this case I give kudos to de la Guerre.
The second song “Red Clay Moses” in no way makes things easier for the listener who hasn’t ventured into the fringe of what music can offer. Guitars and saxophones flare about with multiple vocal lines. There is one steady element in the song. I liked it.
“Steal the Water” feels a little more “conventional” and mixes in rock and pop. That being said the sound sounds oddly dissonant, almost as if you were listening to a song on Quaaludes. Up next is “Green Tumbler” which felt more like an ether high. The vocal melody is pretty damn catchy as the guitar bends and melts all around you. Snare hits are implemented which almost feel random but somehow work brilliantly.
“Talk About the Guns” sounds like an off-kilter punk sound. A highlight was “Malishin’” which contains an amalgamation of strings and other things I couldn’t even really get a handle on. Guitars melt as does most of the song. As much as I was digging what was happening some songs such as “Lind’s Blues” fall a little short. The centerpiece may be “The End Looked Like the Beginning” which is an eight-plus-minute piece with a dizzying array of sounds.
Sometimes it takes awhile for everything to come together for an artist. It may take some effort but sometimes it eventually clicks. The transition from his previous album Toe-Tapping Songs of Pain and Loss to Clam Fake is an as clear as day example of this. It seems as if de la Guerre lets loose and embraced experimentation and the payoff is immense. Clam Fake may or may not be your cup of tea but if you want to hear an artist coming into their own this is essential listening.
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