Clem Snide is a New York-based alt-country outfit that gravitates around
Eef Barzelay's lyrics.
You Were A Diamond (Tractor Beam, 1998) was mostly devoted to
monotonous but poignant stories, in a style that continued the tradition of
Nick Drake and Smog
Barzelay's talent for orchestrating in deceptively simple ways (mostly cello
and standup bass) his melancholy stories emerged on
Your Favorite Music (Cooking Vinyl, 2000). Songs such as
(Your Favorite Music, I Love The Unknown and
Messiah Complex Blues
manage to sound
varied while being very similar, a sign of cohesiveness and completeness.
The Ghost Of Fashion (Spinart, 2001) was a mixed blessing, following
in the footsteps of its predecessor
(Let's Explode, No One's More Happy Than You)
but at times indulging too much in the singer's skewed sense of humour
rather than on the music.
The band learned how to arrange their songs on Soft Spot (2003),
a lavish production whose only problem is that songs such as
Happy Birthday are not as vivid as on previous efforts.
Clem Snide's fifth album End Of Love (Spinart, 2005) is a
relaxed and unassuming collection, which again relies on tasteful
arrangements and irony
(The Sound Of German Hip-Hop,
Jews For Jesus Blues, Something Beautiful),
when it doesn't dialogue with God
(the catchy Fill Me With Your Light).
Despite its brevity,
Eef Barzelay's solo acoustic debut, Bitter Honey (SpinArt, 2006),
was better than anything the band ever did.
Far from sounding monotonous, the album picks tasteful settings for each
story, so that each song becomes more than just a song. The grace and depth of
Ballad Of Bitter Honey, Thanksgiving Waves,
I Wasn't Really Drunk,
N.M.A. (Nothing Matters Anymore) and Let Us Be Naked
explores a broad emotional and musical spectrum while employing minimal
Even the minuscule Little Red Dot has some charm that is best kept
at a minimum.
Clem Snide re-united in 2008 and returned a year later with Hungry Bird (429, 2009), originally recorded in 2006, and
The Meat Of Life (2011).
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