Baby Julius Records, 2002

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


In the course of this job, one hears enough bands who draw upon various musical influences, but they don't quite know which way they want to steer their own musical ship.

Clyde is one such band. Their self-titled debut mixes the worlds of alternative with rap - granted, not an original combination anymore - but there's occasionally some touches of Elvis Costello heard in the vocal styles. This 10-song disc suggests the band has promise, but they need to decide just what they want to be when they musically mature.

Oh, this isn't to say that Clyde is an immature album, or that the band - vocalist Scott Moses, guitarist/vocalist Michael Bergman, bassist Taylor and drummer Hamboussi - are immature in any way. But what they bring to the table on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Clyde, while sonically polished, suggests that the band is still very much in their musical youth, and that some rough edges will need to be polished off before they're ready to stake a claim at the big time.

I've read one or two reviews of Clyde, mostly while searching for the album art. (One of these days, I've got to re-hook up that scanner.) I honestly don't remember who said it, but one writer suggested that the alt-rap combination didn't work, then admitted they don't like rap at all. Well, I'm someone who does like rap, and I'll be the first to admit that, at times, Moses gets a little carried away with the raps. On some tracks such as "Push The Bully," it works well and captures the emotion of the moment. But on the album's opener "Leaving," Clyde starts laying out an interesting musical pattern when the flow is absolutely halted by the delivery of the lyrics in rap form. Zack De La Rocha might have been able to get away with this while he was in Rage Against The Machine, but in Clyde's case, it simply clashes. (For that matter, while I'm no prude when it comes to language, one has to wonder whether some of the usage, as in the song "Everything," was needed. The song was powerful enough as it was.)

The Costello influence comes into play on songs like "Crazy," where Moses is able to demonstrate his vocal ability well. If only the second half of Clyde held up as well musically, which would have given the band further room to display their talents. It's not that the songs are bad; it's that the energy level seems to dip severely, leaving songs like "Mine," "Good Guys Finish Last" and "As Good As You Hate" in the cold. Then again, this energy sag is something that affects even mainstream artists, so at least they're in good company.

Clyde is the kind of disc that almost acts as a crystal ball for an independent band, but provides only a cloudy look into the future. I can't say for sure whether Clyde has what it takes to become a major player on the scene, but this disc suggests that there's a good chance they'll at least be somewhere on the playing field.

Rating: B-

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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Baby Julius Records, and is used for informational purposes only.