Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Clair De Lune-Assisted Living

March 1, 2007

clairedeluneClair De LuneAssisted Living

Variety courses through this punk/emo/alternative/hardcore album.

Deep Elm Records

I’m not going to try and come off as an expert on the punk/emo/hardcore thing that is going on right now in the world. In fact, I generally shy away from most music which would fit the above genre description. But I know what I like and I know what is good, and this, my friends, is damn good!

Assisted Living is an album just waiting to explode onto a scene which is in desperate need of a band which is willing to push the artistic envelope a bit farther than the competition. Clair De Lune might just be that band. This album is packed with everything a listener could want: energy, hooks, danceable grooves, sing-a-long choruses, passionate quiet movements and heavy breakdowns. In fact, there really isn’t a dull moment to be had on the CD.

It literally has everything, including some excellent texture-adding keyboards courtesy of Adam Roddy, who also provides the backing vocals to Justin Burckhard. Their combined voices cover a lot of different musical territories on this disc and further help the band diversify their sound. Burckhard shares guitar duties with Tom Caughlan, both of whom exercise the right amount of rock guitar, progressive licks and minimal ambience depending on what the song calls for.

The rhythm section is gifted as well and they create many hypnotic moments throughout the album. Ben Johnson’s focused drumming is a powerful driving force behind the CDL sound. Likewise, the bass of Jon Herr’s comes through the mix with a vibrant tone which is absent in the production of too much modern music. Joe Mabbott

(engineering / mixing) and Dave Gardner (mastering) deserve special mention for how crisp and sharp this album sounds. I also love the addition of violin (Jamey Groethe) on “Assisted Living” and “Winning Over Grief and Sorrow.” The latter track is an instrumental and quite possibly the most moving track on the album.

Many bands would seem scared to bring such a level of experimentation into such a saturated scene, but at the end of the day I think that is exactly what has secured Clair De Lune’s spot as one of the finest emerging talents in the genre. Their scope seems endless and unlike many of their counterparts they don’t seem restrained with the direction of their music. Songs like “Checkers,” “Black Heard Charades” and “XXXX” are all so radically different, yet all still fall within the CDL sound.

With an established previous release Marionettes under their belt and the fact that they have clearly raised the bar with Assisted Living, one has to wonder what the future holds for this talented young band.

-Josh Hogan

josh@orchidscurse.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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