Craig M Clarke’s music site features him dressed up as a rather warped-looking Lion King. We are also informed that for the Nevada musician’s latest album, ‘The Kid And The Cobra’, “the songs have a deep devout tendency to his feelings but also showcase his dislike for controlled faith.”. Clearly listeners are not in for an easy ride. A good thing.
Beginning with ‘Stop The Beat’; an intriguing mix of shimmering downtempo electronica, excitable beats and Clarke’s sinister vocal tones, it’s a challenging start bubbling with invention. The second song, ‘Happiness On The Other Side Of The Armageddon’, is a brilliant, thrilling slice of driving rock every bit as potent as its name, whilst the title track blends Kraftwerk’s ‘Autobahn’ with eerie space rock; Clarke claiming “You are my greatest seducer”.
Compelling lyrics can tend to dominate, not least when ‘Brother Blood’ documents a two-way confession between the singer and “The Organisation” (“No one ever said sin wasn’t fun. I only suggested that maybe you were done” our narrator explains). This then leads to the more conceptual side to the album and ‘Finally Love With Trust’ picks up this flow; characterised by bruising guitars, crisp beats, snatches of dialogue and the conclusion that “to give love with trust is better than any dream”. Likewise, ‘The Witness’ hurtles from ghostly ambience to crazed psych-rock.
By the time of the heavyweight, eight minute finale ‘Surviving The Cult’ it’s likely you’ve either opted out or become a fully-fledged disciple of Clarke’s cause. What is certain is that this is another fascinating, uncompromising and unique release from Everything Is Chemical’s leftfield roster.