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Monday 18 March 2024

James Clarke Five - Zoom And The Gadflies


I wasn't always about the new and came to the internet reviewing world quite late in 2005. I was involved in a place called Anything Should Happen (hence the IDHAS email) that celebrated the under appreciated, but in a lost or long deleted album sort of way. We celebrated James Clarke Five as much as is humanly possible without exploding with enthusiasm.

So it was delightful to see the release of Parlor Sounds in 2019 and that appeared in our Best 100 Albums of that year. You can read the album review here. I've talked enough in the past of my adoration of intelligent Indie, so suffice to say that the Ex Cherry Boy fits that bill and more.

Zoom And The Gadflies is an album of two halves, not that a JC5 ever could be that completely because every song is inventively different. But it does apply here, because in visiting the types of music that influenced him listening wise the direction changes. There are no need for cover songs when you have as wandering mind as Jimmy Hughes.

It gets Electronic as the album progresses, simply because his influences did. What is not in doubt is that everything works. The Indie is still melodic, but incredibly left field. The Electro or Synth Pop is really really catchy. 

Over those first songs you get the Adam And The Ants Burundi Beat of (Who's Been On The) Big Rock Candy, The Protectors TV Theme like Ghost and the Acoustic Pop Rock (with a nod to George Michael's Faith) of Pineapple Rock that incorporates a stomping chorus and a Psych Pop riff.

Add in the Piano Jazz of Manhattan Rock, the wonderful UK Glam Rock of Gadfly Groove and the fairground joy of D'You Not Think with another killer chorus. The remaining five songs are very different, but as enjoyable. 

It's Been So Long is great 80s Synth Pop, incredibly catchy and Buddy and Joe is cinema organ like twang. Zoomdust is short and ethereal and Hot Chicory Bop is an Electro Funk instrumental. All of this is rounded out by the splendid Pop Rock of Goodbye Patience. Absolutely Wonderful!

You can listen to and buy the album here.


1 comment:

  1. Well, this is another CD you recommended and I wound up buying on Bandcamp!

    The drummer had me hooked on (Who's Been On) Big Rock Candy which mimics closely without cloning the opening beat of Adam Ant's Goody Two Shoes. Unlike GTS though the guitar, the bass, and the lead vocals follow the drumming through the song. This song showcases the drummer's talent quite well without flamboyance and flash.

    I'm impressed with the rest of the CD as well.