Rumors of the Clem Snide demise have proven inaccurate, as the Eef Barzelay-fronted folk-rockers are getting ready to release Hungry Bird, their 6th proper full length record, on February 24 (that’s next week). Recorded way back in 2006, Hungry Bird has been on the shelf gathering dust for a variety of reasons, inner band dysfunctions very much a part of it. In the meantime, Barzelay has carved out a nice little career for himself away from Clem Snide, with 2 solid solo albums (Bitter Honey and last year’s Lose Big) and a couple of film scores (Rocket Science and Yellow Handkerchief), as well as offering to write a song just for you. Obviously the band always intended for Hungry Bird to see proper release, and have decided to give it a go along with 429 Records.
I‘ve hands my hands pretty full, literally, for the last week or so but have managed a few quiet listens to Hungry Bird during that time. My first impressions are that the album is a welcome addition to the distinguished Clem Snide canon. The Ghost Of Fashion, Clem Snide’s 2001 classic, remains one of my favorite albums of the decade and the band’s very best. Each release prior and subsequent to it has housed at least a handful of stellar cuts - with Your favorite Music and End of Love also being excellent starting points for curious listeners. Hungry Bird’s opener, “Me No”, is a perfect re-introduction to this band for me, with Barzelay’s endearingly nasal voice mixed high over the band’s slow building urgency. Songs like “Hum” and “Burn The Light” find the band expanding on its folk-driven sound by incorporating languid, almost jazz-like arrangements with very satisfying results. The closer though, “With All My Heart”, is a straight lo-fi folk song and the early album highlight for me. Normally I prefer Barzelay’s writing with a fair amount of his patented detached sarcasm and biting wit, but this simple, aching song is just flat out beautiful with only heart-on-the-sleeve honesty to its credit.
MP3 :: Me No
Stream :: Beard of Bees
Stream :: Entire Album
(from Hungry Bird. Buy here)