Clique – ‘Burden Piece’ album review

Clique band Topshelf Records

A four-piece from Philadelphia signed to Topshelf Records, ‘Burden Piece’ is Clique’s second album. Already a cult favourite (which Topshelf band isn’t?), will it see them continue to gain more and more fans? Their tours with Modern Baseball and Sorority Noise will surely have helped and now these new fans can hear 13 new songs.

All very short, the songs on this record are sweet slices of slacker pop. ‘Worth’ opens the record and it has a loose and easy filling as the band repeatedly ask ‘Was it worth our time?’ Following this is ‘Top Field’, a song that features the slightly menacing lines ‘keep it quiet, here they come’ over Pavement-esque guitars. ‘Usage’ has elements of Diamond Youth and Tangled Hair with its slurred words and elaborate breakdown, while ‘Boundaries’ appears to be a more narrative-driven case of self-analysis: ‘The bus driver screams at me out of his half-cracked window. It’s all biological, whatever I tell myself’.

There’s a more traditional and perhaps fuller sound on ‘Crater’ with huge guitars and massive-sounding drums. Of course, this is expertly followed by ‘Quappy’, a downbeat song that puts particular emphasis on crying and this is followed by ‘Wishful Thinking’, where the band sing about how ‘who you are speaks far too loud’ before then correcting themselves and saying ‘I can’t hear at all’ amongst some aggressive riffs. ‘Separate’ sounds something akin to Mac Demarco jamming with Real Estate and is very chilled, while ‘Mutual’ describes a break-up between an unlikely couple and the pain it left on both: ‘Am I bringing you down?’ followed by the heart-wrenching ‘Fast asleep, you were so beautiful’ before both parties make peace and move on with their lives.

The closing song, ‘Kelly’ has a psychedelic nature as the band reminisce about times gone by and the power of memories. It looks at how things make more sense in retrospect and has some powerful hooks to complement this. It’s no burden on you to listen to this captivating new album. This is a Clique you won’t mind being part of.

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