Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Clean - Mister Pop

Given the sheer quantity and quality in the past five years of bands emerging from the dark corners of the US underground who are obviously influenced by The Clean, if there were ever a Clean Fest featuring the NZ heroes and their many talented fans it might just be the best festival ever.

It would obviously be the best festival ever if The Clean had made albums as good as Vehicle since its release 20 years ago. Nonetheless, Mister Pop is a very good album – at least as good as 1994’s Modern Rock and better than subsequent efforts – which on tracks like Factory Man match Robert Scott’s pure pop sensibilities with David Kilgour’s gift for jaggedly direct guitar rhythms.

The experimentation that bedevilled 1996’s Unknown Country (the only of their albums to steer well clear of) is indulged on Moonjumper and Simple Fix, but I regard these as sacrificial lambs next to the psychedelic inventiveness and arresting originality of songs like In The Dream Life U Need A Rubber Soul and Are You Really On Drugs.

The most consistent work by The Clean’s two principal songwriters since Vehicle has come in Scott’s Bats and Kilgour’s solo works. I’d take The Bats’ Guilty Office and Kilgour’s Falling Debris albums from the past 12 months over Mister Pop, for example, but I’d take Mister Pop over most other albums in the same period.

The nearest thing there’ll be to a Clean Fest is when Pavement curate ATP next year. If The Clean, whose dissonant chimes and leftfield melodic bite can be heard strongly throughout Pavement’s back catalogue, and at least a few of the many current bands in their debt aren’t included on the bill I’d be very surprised.

4 comments:

brogues said...

Just streaming this from the Merge site and you're right...'In The Dream...' and 'Are You Really...' are sublime! On first listen, I like the 'experimental' ones, too :) 'Are You...' could happily play all day and I'd never tire of the soft vocals...

victor noir said...

it is really not very good at all though probably better than the last one which was just awful. they have moved towards making their records grimy and ugly instead of pristine and charming. who knows why. robert scott is the only one left with a clue. but 'unknown country' is fabulous, come on now.

Fire Escape said...

Nope, don't agree with you. I certainly don't remember The Clean ever being "pristine", and going by Falling Debris, David Kilgour has more than a clue of how to make a good record.

Anonymous said...

Victor Noir is a twat I'm afraid. "Mister Pop" is clearly the best Clean album since "Vehicle". Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I cannot remember ever seeing a Victor Noir opinion on a blog anywhere in the world that was in anyway positive. And in this case he is factually incorrect - there is nothing "grimy and ugly" about "Mister Pop" - has he even listened to it? Victor appears to be trapped in an imaginary past, unable to accept that musicians move on and make new music.