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coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 85 - 09/10/03

Steve Clark
Where the River Meets the Sea
Endgame Records

Debut album release for Clark, one-time bassist for true gems Died Pretty in the late eighties/early nineties. Several tracks, including "Close" feature the towering electric guitar of Died Pretty's Brett Myers. In fact, the edgy rise and fall of "Crawlback" is very similar to the thunder of Died Pretty's "Winterland", which is not to take away from this album, but serves as a fond reminder of Myers' aural driving skills where Died Pretty were concerned.

Repeated listens have got me to wondering about Mr Clark and his vocal style. The laid back delivery and general workmanlike purpose resembling Ron Sexsmith's approach to building little towers of song and to me that ain't a bad thing. What initially appears ordinary ends up being so much more is what I'm tryna say I guess.

Backing vocalist and occasional co-writer Chiara Browne imbues Where the Rivers Meets the Sea with much romance and beauty. This is especially evident on the outstanding "Cross This River". Other highlights include "True Love" and the urgent shuffle of "All The Stars".

The strong narrative and country chug of "Hollywood" brings a slight playfulness to the album and with its earthy style and hard won wisdom sounds as though it could've been lifted straight off a Spencer Jones album.

"Higher Love" closes the album in a particularly stunning way and the backing vocals provided by Rachel Holmshaw adds much to the track's soaring qualities. Holmshaw dropped in to devastatingly good effect on the Raoul Graf/Ed Kuepper album Splinters back in 1999 and has appeared elsewhere within the scene to lend considerable weight to all she touches.

A consistently strong debut, which should encourage Clark into further releases - these here ears would like to hear more without a doubt.

Copyright © 2003 Brian Stradbrook e-mail address

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