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The Clevers - On to the Mansion 
By Gary Schwind

All right, I have to admit, the first two times I listened to this 6-song EP, I wasn’t thrilled with it.  It’s not bad but it just didn’t reach out and grab me.  It was when I listened to it with my headphones that I really began to see the charm of The Clevers, a Seattle-based trio.  

On to the Mansion opens with “Completely Insincere,” a rootsy, melodic song. I was immediately struck by how the vocals on this song are similar to Barenaked Ladies.  That’s not the only similarity though.  The tongue-in-cheek lyrics are also reminiscent of Barenaked Ladies.  I’ll give you an example.  “Is this a turn-off notice?  Well, you’re still turning me on.  Turns out you’re loud and obnoxious.  Turns out that’s what turns me on.”  It’s a, well, clever song.

“On to the Mansion” is a fun song that sounds like a more melodic version of Cake.  It should also be noted that Kevin Hyatt’s delivery is not nearly as dry as Joel McCrea’s.  It is especially the chorus that sounds like Cake, with a sort of call and response between Rick Herrin the bassist and Kevin Hyatt.  

On their website, The Clevers claim Tom Waits as an influence.  That influence can be seen pretty clearly on “The Night there was no Moon.”  It is a moody piano bar song.  On The Clevers’ website, the band is referred to as “far from shoegazers.”  This is probably where the band most earns that label.  That being said, they bring far too much energy to their songs to be considered shoegazers.  There are two really good rock songs on this EP, “Turning Time” and “Waiting Around.”  What’s funny is that “Turning Time” follows “The Night there was no Moon.”  It’s almost as if the band is saying, “Before you start calling us shoegazers, check this out.  We can rock too!”  “Waiting Around” features a more prominent bass line than any other song on the disc and tells a good story.  The story is people throughout the US chasing after their dreams.  Some will succeed, some will fail.  But the important thing is going after the dream, whatever it may be.  The Clevers also claim Bruce Springsteen as an influence on their music.  The best example of that is in “Waiting Around.”

If there is one down note on this EP, it is “Believe.”  It is a folky, bluesy number.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not bad, just a bit drab.  It doesn’t quite measure up to the other songs.

What makes this a good album is that The Clevers do something a little different in each song.  They don’t give you the same song twice.  And as I said, it won me over.  If you want to make the world go away for 26 and a half minutes, grab your headphones and put this EP on.  You could do a lot worse.

CD Info 

The Clevers - On to the Mansion
1. Completely Insincere
2. On to The Mansion
3. The Night there was No Moon
4. Turning Time
5. Believe
6. Waiting Around
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

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