Clearlake - Cedars
Brighton's Clearlake have established themselves as critical darlings over the last couple of years, including such diverse figures as Jarvis Cocker, Stephen Malkmus and Mark and Lard amongst their fans. For all that, they remain firmly stuck in British indie's second division, a solid, reliable outfit who simply don't look like contenders for the big time. Perhaps they're just too polite for their own good - much of this second album sounds as if it was written during breaks from their university essays, and played at a level that won't outrage their landlords too much. Well-spoken frontman Jason Pegg is a sensitive young man in the Morrissey mode, and most of his compositions are dominated by the themes of madness, death and self-loathing. Unfortunately most of his observations are distinctly on the banal side - which makes Clearlake a band it's easy to like but difficult to love. For the moment at least, Coldplay have little to worry about.
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