Although never occupying the first row of my record rack, The Clean have been part of my personal soundtrack for a long time. I was always attracted to Flying Nun for two reasons: incredible pop music and the sense of otherworldliness the records held for me. I discovered The Clean after becoming infatuated with The Chills during my senior year in high school.
The bands stateside champion, Merge Records, released The Clean’s seventh proper (as in non-live and non-compilation) full length album, Mister Pop, this past September. I’ve listened to it easily 20+ times and have planned this writing the whole time. You’d think their music would be something so simple to write about. I mean, it’s hardly a complicated music. Generally speaking, The Clean play guitar and organ and drums and produce simple pop songs that are easily remembered and quoted. Their longevity rests in the way they play these songs, though. Perhaps unintentionally, there’s always been a certain sadness to The Clean’s music for me. (Never mind that they broke up several times, too. )
Maybe that was the initial attraction.
It’s hard for me to say but that’s got to be a component of it. Also, I find it harder and harder to write about bands that I’ve lived with for a long time. Trying to contextualize them is near impossible because they’ve been with you for so long. I do know that this new album is no disappointment at all and continues the fine tradition of the band.
Never heard ’em? Not terribly surprising. (But, surely you’ve heard of them. Their name gets dropped all the time and if you’re reading 24HPP, which hardly has anything close to resembling a general readership, then I’m fairly certain you’re of a distinct class of folks. That is, you tend to live for this kind of stuff. ) They’ve never made a whole lot of headway in the US. Mike Turner and I were within a hairsbreadth of having them play Athens until their whole US tour got canceled.
Maybe we’ll get another chance. I certainly hope so.
New Video From Mister Pop:
MP3: The Clean-Tensile