Mike Clerk – The Space Between My Ears
The Space Between My Ears is not a title connoting a light listen; and this slow burn of alternative rock from Fife-based Mike Clerk lives up to its dark implications. The record is a solo debut, resulting from a Go Fund Me page that gauged huge interest for the Ex-frontman of The Lost Generation. Clerk possesses a keen ear for gritty riffs and unforeseen instrumental combinations, all performed alone. The album probes the sinister shades of mental health, aiming to “mend the after-effects of historical over-indulgence”.
Good For Me is initially confusing, marrying stuttering electronic with acoustics, but a build of thick sound is soon established. The artist shares strong similarity to Muse in his tensely stretched vocals conveying a sense of impending existential threat. “I guess my tears ain’t severe enough” ruminates an airless pressure, which is also prevalent in The Air in Here. Clerk proves an ability to layer instrumentation – not for overwhelming sound – but heated plots of emotions that morph into something quite forceful.
Thoughts of Fools has a nervous rhythm, but purposeful piano and effectual pauses are a self-assured statement. Deceiving demons, demeaning doctors and a feverish mind paint a distressing predicament – and paired with an energised sound – it feels cynical, much like the engrossing horror of the Joker’s smile.
You When You and Come Down With Me are stripped back, with finger-style guitar exposing the musician’s steady, focused vocals. The latter especially is an intriguing compilation of sound with an intentional smoky atmosphere, almost out of touch of reality. It’s an uncomfortable array of intangible sensations that spook and lure in equal measure as he comes “unbound”. A handful of tracks sound like direct follow-ons from sturdier ones, detracting from the succinctness of the work overall, though they serve their purpose as treadmills for that gradual build Clerk has opted for.
Do Something New is pure rock with a revolutionary, revved up drive that hooks, whereas Everybody Knows It takes a more relaxed stance, thought streams projected candidly onto the person he can’t stop thinking about. With the wide vowels of Noel Gallagher, it’s a calmer but worthy song. As is Words of Gods, which punctures echoes with electric melodies and weighty piano. This final number possesses the most self-assurance yet, with “you’ve said enough to me”, implying a progression of outlook.
The soloist characterises his music as muscular, rough and deep-seated in dark perspectives, with layered sound feeding a throbbing tension. The context of a pandemic heightens such weight, meaning this album will surely resonate in the turmoil of listeners – paradoxically – quite comfortably. A similar tone is used throughout and without such diverse instrumentation, he risks losing distinction amidst his slow burn. However, his direction of rock is paced, rather than scrambling for impact, Clerk crafts his work to achieve the atmosphere most representative of the nuance in his mind.
The Space Between My Ears is released on 26th March 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Mike Clerk – The Space Between My Ears’s website here.
Watch the video for the single here: