I recently had the pleasure of discovering the terrific UK band The Clear when they contacted me about their new single “The Planets.” The Sheffield three-piece plays an incredibly pleasing style of what can best be called “West Coast Dream Pop” (‘West Coast’ referring to my home state of California, thank you very much). Their utterly beguiling sound is like no other artist or band I know of. Among the many positive attributes of their music, the thing that really stands out for me are their sublime harmonizing vocals.
Formed in 2013, The Clear consists of Chris Damms, Jules Buffey and Bryan Day. “The Planets” is taken from their outstanding debut album Patchwork, which they actually released in 2016. In preparing to write this review, I listened to the entire album and found myself enveloped by a dreamy soundscape that’s at once beautiful and spellbinding. Patchwork is honestly one of the best albums of 2016, and I’m sorry I didn’t learn of it until 2017.
In describing “The Planets,” the band states it’s “a quirky analogy of dying love, with stars burning out, and satellites fading and crashing to earth. We like to describe the song’s style, as Nancy Sinatra in 1950’s space!” Indeed it is! The song has a distinct James Bond movie theme feel and, to my ears, sounds most like “The World is Not Enough” by Garbage. It’s a captivating song with a retro 60s vibe that whisks you back in time to an imaginary party at a mid-Century modern home in the Hollywood Hills. With a hint of a Latin beat, the song features lush, soaring orchestration and mesmerizing electric guitar, accompanied by Buffey’s incredibly seductive vocals. She croons:
“Tears in my eyes once again. Torment and lies spell the end.
Planets they turn, mine collide. Look to the stars , they burned out long ago.
Love is a flame but quick to burn. When satellites fade they fall to earth.
Planets they turn, mine collide. Look to the stars , they burned out long ago.”
The brilliant video combines scenes from old science fiction films and TV shows, including 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek, with actual footage of early space exploration as well as an orchestra performing. Check it out:
To learn more about The Clear, take a look at their website.