The kid is back!
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 07/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Somewhere between Tin Pan Alley and Stereolab lies... "The Return of the Clerkenwell Kid."
British musician Real Tuesday Weld (real name: Stephen Coates) made a critical hit with "I Lucifer," a slyly oddball concept album. Now he has produced the softer follow-up, a delightful mixture of electronica and old-style jazz. Bright and sunny, but just a little weird.
After a muffled string intro, the music slips into a soft guitar/piano groove, with the odd whistle and horn. "Something's wrong, cause I'm always wasted/Something's gone, and I just gotta face it," Coates sings softly. "Well I don't need much/to make me feel good/no I don't need/anything but love..."
From there on, he takes things into stranger territory: piano-jazz with an electronic twist, gentle acoustic ballads with angelic backing vocals, sunny trip-hop, and dark haunted electropop. And woven in are little blips and whistles, as well as samples of birdsong and other sounds.
It's not exactly an identifiable sound: for instance, "Little White Birds" is even filtered so that it sounds like it's playing on an old radio. It's split between the old-style jazz and pop, and the more modern keyboard stuff. And surprisingly, it meshes together with only a few brief stumbles, little glitches here and there.
This time around, the Real Tuesday Weld isn't dabbling in the more controversial matter of "I Lucifer," or even really on a story. Instead, he's focused on love, on how love affects our life, and even death. For a song theme that has been recycled through a thousand bad pop ballads, it's amazing how smart and introspective the Real Tuesday Weld can get.
But surprisingly, this doesn't get morbid or boring. The last song, for instance, is Coates imagining his own funeral. But "Goodbye Stephen" isn't a sad song; instead, it's a happy, sweet, funny song that bids people, "So don't cry/or ask why/it's hard enough as it is."
With "The Return of the Clerkenwell Kid," the Real Tuesday Weld goes all out for something just a little different. Charming, weird and sunny."
Very different from I, Lucifer
J. Garcia | Chicago, IL United States | 07/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you liked I, Lucifer give "Return of the Clerkenwell Kid" a try. Like the liner notes say it really does tell a love story. If you listen to the tracks in order you do feel more of a sense of a novel than I, Lucifer did. It isn't nearly as completely different in genre from track to track. You do feel more of a sense of story being woven together. The tracks have a more cohesive sense together than the tracks of I, Lucifer. If you appreciated the concept and sound of blending Tin Pan Alley and Jazz era sounds updated and blended you will love this album and appreciated the updated lyrics.
I don't know if you will like it or not, give a listen to the samples. You may just be pleasantly surprised."