While others are off on tour supporting Beth Orton in the U.S we British Lizards are stuck here to take the heat. I need something to cool me off. Fortunately, I found it in the form of a quaint acoustic band, Clayhill.
The breathy style of Gavin Clark, experimental bassist Ali and film score writer Ted on guitar bring an amalgamation from all corners of the music world. From their Mine At Last album comes One Nerve and B-Side Come Down.
One Nerve peaks well over the chorus after quite a long verse and pre-chorus section. It opens with a staccato acoustic guitar line played in what seems like a 3/4 shuffle. The frustrating thing is that this track doesn't seem to go anywhere but keeps you in a mellow and reflective mood. Suddenly there is pressure release. The chorus line "I'm sick... of you and you're kind" indicates a frustration with the establishment. Although having not seen these guys in the flesh, I would suggest that Clayhill are best served live. The recording just doesn't capture the peaks and troughs in their delivery.
Come Down is a more commercially friendly track opening with filtered harmonics and sprinklings of the electronic influences. Building gently you're rewarded with pleasant chord movements and Gavin extending his vocal range. You do feel he must have more to give. Oddly enough both tracks are near identical in length. However, Come Down doesn't feel like a long song. This could be put down to more variation including a cello solo.
Rhythmically astute, it's evident that work has gone into the drum and percussion parts of both One Nerve and Come Down. In fact every instrument builds upon rhythms in a strophic form with several melting textures. Their sound is uncluttered. Each instrument has its own place in the sonic spectrum. Consequently, you have a feel of spaciousness and simplicity.
I can imagine myself sitting at bar relaxing to a Clayhill set in the background. Such is the length of One Nerve and Come Down they both grow on you rather than strike you immediately. Not being one to pigeon hole a band I'd describe them as a Blues, Folk and Jazz trio. However they do have unique style and approach to composition.