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Clearance - "Are You Aware" | Album Review


by Nathan Springer (@drownloading)

Clearance have been releasing the kind of breezy, effortless rock that serves as the perfect backdrop to the end of summer haze for over four years now, and with the release of their 7” single Are You Aware last August, the band proved that they have grown even more adept at stringing together infectious guitar hooks and vocal melodies. 

The a-side of the single, the title track, rides on a simultaneously upbeat and calming groove for upwards of three minutes before breaking down into a comfortably lazy waltz. Each element of the song, from the krautrock-y drum pattern to the relentlessly catchy bass and guitar lines to the endearingly haphazard vocals, complements the others perfectly. The arrangement of the song is busy, but never crowded, which is impressive considering that a good portion of the song is filled with squalls of feedback.

“Owner/Operator”, the b-side of the single, also relies on tasteful repetition. It is slightly more subdued than “Are You Aware,” riding the thin line between relaxation and mania and giving the twangy guitar leads a bit more room to breathe. Singer Mike Bellis’ line “Welcome to the adequate life/Never complicated by struggle and strife” may be wishful thinking, but these couple of songs can get you pretty close to that feeling of carefree optimism.