Innovation and tradition meld together to form a unique soundscape.
An album, cinematic in scope, eclectic in influences and decidedly innovative in instrumentation deserves to be welcomed to the pages of AUK and its readers. If you couple these elements with a guest appearance from the purveyor of virtuosic, slippery guitar tones, Marcus King, then a rewarding experience is almost guaranteed. Inspired by travels during a transatlantic tour of their debut album, ‘Chasing Lights‘, the songs bring to life an America populated with stories of dislocation and the vacuous promises of social media that try and profoundly fail to offer any real emotional connection.
The opening track, ‘Road to Avalon‘ could serve as a thematic anchor to the album, giving as it progresses a sense of slowly moving through a vast landscape as ethereal harmonies rise to a lead guitar crescendo established from the opening sequence of a simple banjo and synthesiser. The juxtaposition of traditional instruments with modern reoccurs on several tracks providing a fusion of tones that pays respect to traditional folk/blues/ country structures but is not afraid to challenge or augment them. Fans of Marcus King will instantly recognise his trademark blues tones on the title track, ‘Click Click Domino’ which lyrically emulates the stop, start nature of social media discourse. ‘Line on the Page’ takes the pace down a notch or two with melancholy, soulful harmonies providing the background to this keyboard-based track. Shades of Ray Lamontagne are to be heard in this song that relates the highs and lows of being a touring musician. ‘Raining for You’ features a unique twelve-string resonator guitar that beguiles the listener with its singing, sliding laments. Innovative instrumentation is the way of ‘Little Liars’ which has its main riff delivered by a 1920’s mandolinetto, (set up like a mandolin but having a flat top guitar body, in case you are wondering) with a 1970’s analog drum machine performing percussive duties. ‘Deep River’, the tale of a couple lost in the vastness of forgotten America is also an opportunity for King to once again deliver his searing guitar tones whilst ‘Mountain Lion’ pays tribute to the likes of John Lee-Hooker and Muddy Waters with an earthy twelve-bar blues. The final track, ‘Has My Midnight Begun’ deftly demonstrates the creative spirit engendered in this album which mixes twelve-string bottleneck slide guitar, hip hop analogue drum loops, Juno synthesizer and gut string banjo through a fuzz pedal.
Ida Mae, in creating this album has made some important statements about American music, namely that traditional forms such as folk/country/ blues demonstrate the resilience and flexibility to be subtly changed by individual interpretation, augmented by unlikely instrumentation and given currency by inspired delivery. In short, ‘Click Click Domino’ is to be highly recommended.