James Jonathan Clancy “Sprecato”

Maple Death, 2023

Out there experimentalism from ‘Alien Cowboy’… it’s a trip.

Sprecato artwork JJClancy

This is way out there. A cosmic, lo-fi postcard from the edge perhaps. What edge is probably the question? We never find out. There’s strummed guitars, echoey vocals, murmuring orchestration and a brooding sense of something malevolent in several tracks – alluded to but rarely appearing other than in textures rather than corporal form. ‘I Want You’ has sparkling guitar off-set with dark droning eventually coming ashore with a clear vocal and flute passage that is sparkling and spiritual in its purity after the previous dissonance. Points of reference may be Spiritualised or perhaps Suss. 

Clancy is the founder of Maple Death Records and this is his first album with his birth name as previous outings have seen him as His Clancyness or Brutal Birthday. The vibe he’s going for according to PR notes is ‘Alien Cowboy’ and I can see where he’s coming from, with the widescreen vistas of sound that are beds for the up close singer-songwriter interjections that just keep the project human. ‘Precipice’ could be Depeche Mode refracted through the lens of a drunken busker on a midnight platform or maybe Scott Walker embarking on other sonic journey. Whereas the following track ‘Black and White’ is far more traditional in its form. Verse and repeated hook line building to a melancholy refrain far more Velvets and indeed accessible to the casual listener. And it is the casual listener that is going to find this a tough ask. The central madness of ‘A Worship Deal’ is strictly for those who prefer their music, ahem, challenging. There are hints of Morrison and Rollins and even of Stockhausen. 

This album should be bathed in at one sitting. It is not an easy listen. Repeated plays heighten the experimental strengths but also strengthen the conviction that this album is not designed for commercial success. And why should it be?

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=1709393775 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]


About Keith Hargreaves 365 Articles
Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up
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