The Clarks - Let It Go - 2000 MP3/Flac

Critics normally prefer an album to contain both good songs and bad songs -- it makes the album easier to review, since you can compare and contrast. So the Clarks' latest effort is kind of irritating. How can all 12 songs be such perfectly formed slabs of emotional power pop? And for that matter, how can a band this good have remained largely a Pittsburgh-area phenomenon for so long? No matter. What's important is that from the huge and cathartic "Snowman" that opens the album to the gently soulful "If Memory Serves" that closes it, Let It Go just moves from strength to strength: "I'm a Fool" is a confession of romantic helplessness that veers from spare funk to roadhouse country-rock; "Born Too Late" name-checks various historical heroes over a shimmering bed of 12-string guitar; and "Flame" juxtaposes looped drums with jazzy guitar chords and a subtlety brilliant bassline. No, the lyrics aren't very deep; songs with titles like "Chasin' Girls" and "Better Off Without You" don't offer any surprises. But who needs surprises? There's enough pure pleasure in this album to make you give up sophistication for good. -AMG

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