I recently let my passport expire, so until I go through the extremely fun process of renewing it (insert sarcastic tone) I have to use my good old imagination to leave the country. I’m sure you’re now sitting at your computer scratching your head wondering how the hell I’m going to use my imagination to travel the world? Well, the answer, of course, is music; I can essentially go wherever I want to go, so I decided to take a trip across the sea to England where I discovered Clean Cut Kid.
If Clean Cut Kid were a group of superheroes, they would already have a wicked origin story. Lead vocalist and guitarist Mike Halls was introduced to Evelyn Halls (backing vocals and keyboardist) through a mutual friend at a Blur concert at Hyde Park in London. After the show, they spent some time apart considering Evelyn lived in London and Mike was up in Liverpool. The next time they reconnected, Mike had written Evelyn a song and bing, bang, boom, the rest is history. They’re now happily married, making music, and playing live shows across the country.
Clean Cut Kid was officially formed when Mike and Evelyn recruited Saul Godman (no, not to be confused with the Breaking Bad lawyer Saul Goodman) as the bassist and later added Ross Higginson as the band’s drummer. If you want to read more about how this band formed and what they went through, check out Jamie Muir’s wonderful article but enough with the origin stories, now let me get to the part that matters most: the music.
It was only a few months ago, on May 5, when the band released its first studio album entitled Felt. The album was recorded over an 18-month period while the band was touring, which can attest to the variety of themes explored throughout the album, including that of love, heartbreak, friendship and the unknown. Right from square one, this album hits like a punch. The opening song, Vitamin C, begins with an irresistibly catchy guitar riff (almost Vampire Weekend-esque), leading into Mike Halls’ vocals. Things get kicked into another gear altogether when the bass line drops and those drums chime in. Other notable rocking tunes from this album include Evelyn, Felt and Strangers.
My favourite section of the album comes back-to-back-to-back with Brother of Mine, Time To Let You Go and Evelyn. Brother Of Mine is one of those numbers that just slows things down for a moment. A wistful song that is saddening and hopeful at the same time. Exploring a friendship that has gone sour, but the love remains, the opening lyrics read “This song begins at our ending/So, I guess it’s a final goodbye/I’ve lost the will for pretending/I’m gonna cry”. Then comes the chorus, simple yet reassuring, repeating the words “Brother Of Mine”.
After Brother Of Mine, the album leads into Time To Let You Go, a song that I can only describe as blissfully melancholic. It explores the difficulty of letting go of someone you hold dear because you know it’s best. Then, to bring the spirits right back up, the album leads perfectly into Evelyn, a song Mike had written for his future wife.
Unfortunately, Clean Cut Kid’s upcoming tour dates are limited to the U.K. but I’m keeping my fingers crossed hoping they’ll soon have a North American tour. Until then I would recommend you check out Felt start to finish, it’s one hell of an album.