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June 14, 2024

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The Clarks
Someday, Maybe (MCA Records)

By: Melanie Campbell

You know by now how I love to babble, right?? Well, I was gonna try my hand at writing a really, REALLY short review. I was going to see how few words it would take me to sum up the latest release from one of the best bands to make it out of Pittsburgh, PA in quite a few years. And I was gonna do it something like this...

'The Clarks-Hootie with balls'

and that was gonna be it. I figured anybody with any gray matter whatsoever would understand that completely, and that woulda been all I'd have to say. And then I got to thinkin' about it, and thought, 'Naahhh, what if the Clarks REALLY hate Hootie and the Blowfish, and don't want to be remotely associated with anything of the sort?' Well, hell, I wouldn't want to insult these guys, or anything. Besides, there's more soul in the last chorus of 'Cigarette' than anything that Hootie and Company ever lent their name to, thank you. Now, even though you may have gotten the worst picture possible in yer head, and don't wanna read any further, STOP RIGHT THERE, DORKUS, I WAS JUST PLAYING AROUND WITH WORDS AND STUFF!! Please, allow me to pontificate a little further, now that I have your complete attention again, and since I've now progressed WAY beyond my original '5-word review concept'. (Oh, yeah, right, it'll be a cold day in hell when the mellster can say ANYthing in 5 words or less, ROTFALYAO, it's OK, really!!) The only Hootie association henceforth that will ever have anything to do with the Clarks is the one that has 'BIG HIT RECORD' written all over it. And, by God, wouldn't it be nice to hear a hit record that has some substance for a change? 'Someday, Maybe' has cruisin' tunes. It has the blues. It has some sweet old ballads. And there are great musical hooks all OVER the place, here. Think Tom Petty-type hooks. Or Marshall Crenshaw-like, you know what I mean, those guys are two absolute maestros of the pop/rock gotchas. The Clarks are tight, and they can rock, in that catchy, yet gritty, yet kinda bluesy crunchy way, and this stuff'll get stuck right in your brain after the very first listen. In fact, you'll be humming along to 'Courtney' and 'Mercury' before you even know you're doin' it. But, the lyrics!! They actually have something to SAY!! The Clarks-Scott Blasey on vox and guitars, Robert James, lead guitars and the occasional harmonica, Greg Joseph on bass, guitars, and sundry other instruments, and Dave Minarik on the drums-don't just write stuff like 'Oh, my baby, she's so fine, blah, blah, blah...'oh, no, haven't heard the lyrics to 'Fatal', have you?? "It's a funny kind of feeling, it's got me to the core, she's dripping from the ceiling, I'm lying naked on the floor, she's soaking in my skin now, just like the summer's ray, she's swimming in the gene pool, and I'm in her DNA...." Hell, just that stanza alone is worth the price of admission, now, dontcha think?? Oh, it's a moody, steamy little number, with a guest vocal by a fab-voiced lady named Kelsey Barber, and it's guaranteed to make you, too, think about YOUR baby, ahem...and, 'Last Call' captures the essence of every cynical Saturday night binge you've ever treated yourself to. You know the kind I mean, those nights where everybody looks like a movie star after a few too many Rolling Rocks, and the dreams you sit there and have about them get better and better as the evening progresses? Yeah, you don't ever know where you're going, when you're so alone, and so, feeling thusly, you drink yourself into a complete stupor, along with the rest of the bar. And you try to keep that buzz going even after they duke you out of the place at 2AM, but not before you manage to score a nightcap first. And hey, that nightcap looked real GOOD through your bleary eyes at the time, but you figure out later that you've gotten yerself hooked up with just another human being when you find yourself getting a little, er, PENSIVE upon the dawn's early light, snicker-snicker, so you stumble home and sleep it off, and try not to regret where you've ever been. Oh, and when you die, the only thing you get is a 'Cigarette', did ya know that?? Well, why do you keep trying to quit smoking then?? Will someone please call Al Gore at his office and tell him the NEWS??--Oh, you say the line is busy??-hey, don't call me jaded, sweetie, I've played the Fayette County Fair. Blasey ain't kidding when he speaks of circus freaks, temptation, love gone sour, suspicion and BIG HAIR, lemme tell ya! Hey, and let's not forget 'Never Let You Down', "I'm right, you're wrong, you can't hide in a place you don't belong, please just go away." How many times did you ever go around and around with your beloved, wasting vast lungfuls of breath over WHY it just isn't working out...hey, just tell 'em that, it's very simple, it's a great line. It'll save ya both lots of grief and energy. Sums it right up, it does. It's guaranteed to piss one of you off, anyway, and that'll be the end of it, and you can both get on with your lives. Now, why didn't I ever think of that?? Oh, yeah, I never could say anything in twenty words or less, heh-heh-heh...Anyway, the message is clear. All the good songs in rock-n-roll haven't been written yet, 'cause the Clarks just wrote a few more. Despite what you've been starting to think lately, one listen to 'Someday, Maybe' will go a long way to reassure you, in case you've all but given up, that just because some money-grubbing fool has invented the 'Backstreet Boys' to replace Hanson, all is not yet lost. So, please, do your share, and let's help keep the same sort of fate from befalling the Clarks that befell Donnie Iris and Joe Gruschecky before them. For some strange reason, Pittsburgh musicians have a much harder time than everybody else in the US getting their share of respect in the rock-and-roll biz. Never could figure that out!! Perhaps these guys will change all of that. Now, listen up...the Clarks have done their part for ya. It's your turn, friends. If you go out and buy it, and tell all your freinds, and THEY go out and buy it, and they tell all THEIR freinds, and...well, you get the idea. Unless you live on the East Coast, you may not be hearing this sucker yet, so it looks like the ol' word of mouth is gonna have to get this release rolling. And getting it rolling would be a beautiful thing, as the Clarks have been busting their collective asses for years, and it is now nigh time that yunz all sit up and take notice, dammit...

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