Clem Snide The Ghost Of Fashion

What can I say about this CD? I love this band. I love that I know I'll love their stuff every time a new CD comes out. They're like that big, warm, fuzzy sweater on a rainy day. So comforting and familiar they are. Coming out of Amsterdam in 1984, their semi-extensive career has been a musical exploration down many avenues. "Notes" gets them (and their fans) back in touch with that fusing of electronic and goth that defines their finest moments. And unlike some other bands in that gothic/dark electro group, they do it all with a particular unpretentiousness that's so refreshing. In between all the minor chords and Ronny Moorings' reverbed vocals, there remains a delicate quality to their music; they certainly revisit their brief stay on label 4AD, with moments reminiscent of Dead Can Dance and other former label-mates. Some fine examples of programming (as expected) and just enough catchy numbers to keep you coming back for more only serves to strengthen an already fantastic collection of music. (Metropolis, www.metropolis-records.com) -Coreen Wolanski Clark Terra Incognita: By Land, Sea and Air John Tielli is successfully stepping out of the shadows of his family pedigree (Rheostatics, People From Earth, the Silt) and doing so with the help of the Wooden Stars and the extended Ottawan art-rock community. Much of Terra Incognita's influences are split between the Wooden Stars and early '80s new wave records, like on the angular ska of "Night Train." The best moments here are the quieter ones, like the delicate Rhodes piano and haunting vocals on the aptly titled "Perfect." When Clark tries to be a rock band, the result is less pleasing. This is a band still trying to find its voice, but it's getting closer. (83 Harlow Cres., Etobicoke, ON M9V 2Y8, www.clarktheband.com) -Michael Barclay Clem Snide The Ghost Of Fashion This third album from these one-time punks shows them continuing in the slow lane, relying on the kitchen sink approach to augment singer/songwriter Eef Barzelay's equally far-flung inspiration. With lines like "Tonight I feel like Elvis longing for his long-lost twin," and "I could make a sandwich of us both, but the bread is too stale," it's hard not to fall for this album's immediate charms, which fans of the Elephant 6 catalogue probably will. However, those who demand a little more substance will probably balk at such wise-ass ditties as "Joan Jett Of Arc" and "Ancient Chinese Secret Blues." That's not to say Barzelay's songs aren't affecting in subtle ways. A lot of credit has to be given to producer/cellist/keyboardist Jason Glasser in arranging the strings, cheap keyboards, horns, and other background noise that beautifully accentuates the proceedings at the appropriate moments. However, I soon tired of Barzelay's cynical tone and his penchant for dropping as many pop culture references into the lyrics as possible. Recommended only to those who missed the memo re: the death of irony a couple months ago. (Spinart)