I Tell A Fly
BEHIND/VIRGIN EMI. CD/DL/LP Second, uniquely charged album from the 2015 Mercury Prize winner.
Clementine takes no prisoners. The lead track here, Phantom Of Aleppoville – six proggy jack-knifing minutes, incorporating martial drumbeats, sudden pauses and choral whoops, constructed around the man’s alternately towering and pealing voice/piano – is exhilarating and volatile, his own Paranoid Android. The reference to beleaguered Syrian city Aleppo fits the LP’s concept: an otherwise oblique commentary on the alien/ migrant/refugee outsider, from the point of view of two flies circling over humanity. Jupiter (Michael Kiwanuka by way of Gilbert O’Sullivan) and the classical-romantic piano of Quintessence are easier entry points, but Clementine, like Nina Simone, approaches songwriting like Brechtian theatre. By The Ports Of Europe could be Simone, Brel or Harry Belafonte, while a Radiohead comparison applies to Ode From Joyce’s ghostly cadences and One Awkward Fish’s strange currencies, where soul lament, choir and drum’n’bass collide. Follow Clementine’s muse, and the pay-off is huge.