CST057 180gLP • CD • DL
Release date: 19 May 2009
This is the wondrous debut record from Clues. Co-founders Alden Penner and Brendan Reed quietly nurtured this project in Montreal after the demise of their respective bands, Unicorns and Les Angles Morts. As a member of the short-lived Unicorns, Penner’s songwriting prowess was unveiled in a bright burst of mysterious and kaleidoscopic energy, in the form of a single full-length album (released in 2003) and countless live shows.
Penner’s voice, guitar and unique lyrical vision guide Clues on this debut with humble authority, originality and intent. Wedded to Reed’s superlative compositional and arranging acumen (and awesome drumming, among other instrumental skills) and abetted by multi-instrumentalists Ben Borden, Lisa Gamble, and Nick Scribner, the band entered the Hotel2Tango studio (with Radwan Moumneh engineering) to lay down eleven songs in a feverish session during a Montreal winter deep freeze. The resulting album radiates a very special warmth and urgency, full of secrets, smiles, snarls and sing-a-longs.
This record yields one undeniable tune after another, cohering effortlessly in spite of the restless energy and distinct identity of each song – nothing ever really sounds or stays the same, but neither are there any forced spastics or facile schizophrenics. Forged from postpunk, no-wave and psych influences, Clues compose a rare breed of complex pop anthems that consistently inscribe their own perfect limits, without overreaching and without pandering. The overriding aesthetic avoids ornate decadence and stringent economy in equal measure. An authentic, unfussy and stirringly epic little sonic world unfolds: idiosyncratic and enigmatic, but exuberantly infectious and approachable.
The CD and LP jackets are offset-printed on uncoated paperboard, using metallic and full colour inks.
Original kites by Leyla Majeri, photos by Yannick Grandmont, and composite image by Brendan Reed.
Includes a 4-colour insert.
Ben Borden: synths, bass, vocals
Lisa Gamble: drums, bass, vocals
Alden Penner: voice, guitar, piano, organ
Brendan Reed: drums, bass, guitar, vocals
Nick Scribner: guitar, organ, synths, vocals
Recorded by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh at Hotel2Tango.
Additional recording by Mark Lawson at Petite Eglise and Efrim Menuck at Hotel2Tango.
Mixed by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh & Clues at Hotel2Tango.
Mastered at Grey Market in Montreal by Harris Newman.