All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Clever Con - Mannequin Love: Part 1

A Clever Con – Mannequin Love: Part 1
2012, A Clever Con

New Jersey rockers A Clever Con returned recently with Mannequin Love: Part 1, the follow up to their 2009 debut, The Robot EP.  While still showing the same penchant for post-punk song craft and infectious pop hooks, A Clever Con spices things up with a bit of progressive song construction this time around.  The result is a sound that is perhaps still developing, but is very ambitious rock and roll full of powerful guitar and pop sensibilities.
A Clever Con launches a full sonic assault with "Thesis", a short entry most notable for its big guitar sound and economic structure. "Mexico" maintains the energy and guitar sound, but shows a more aggressive attempt at musical construction. A Clever Con finds a subtle balance between pop song construction and the heavier sound they carry on the dark and catchy "I Am Spartacus". This is one of the best hooks the band has dug up to date, and will have radio programmers trying to figure out where they can fit it in. The anti-war message will also appeal to popular media makers.

A Clever Con really hits their groove on "Twentysomething Blues", a paean to arriving into adulthood and wondering what happened to youthful expectations of what it would be like. Every generation has versions of this tune, and A Clever Con has nailed the mix of cynicism and angst that characterizes young adulthood in 2012. "SonLore" explores angst and mixed emotions in a wonderfully tuneful wall of pop/rock sound. This is perhaps the most commercially appealing song on the album, and sounds ripe for licensing for television or film.

A Clever Con heads back for the edge with "Skydivers and Tongue Biters", a frenetic rocker featuring a wonderfully complex melody line and an equally intriguing arrangement. There is no resting in this tune for either band or listener, and rock fans will find this a welcome joy to listen to. A Clever Con closes with "Katy Perry Sex Tape", a high energy song of propositions, insecurities and shattered dreams. It's an intriguing number seemingly named to draw attention to itself. The gimmick isn't needed however, as anyone with an ear for unique song construction and primo guitar work will quickly find this on their radar.
A Clever Con is a work in progress, as sketched out in the songs on Mannequin Love: Part 1.  There is a lot to like here, and the occasional un-polished moment born of pure creation and grit.  However you may hear them, A Clever Con definitely has a sound that is more potent from the stage than from the studio.  Nevertheless, Mannequin Love: Part 1 is a solid step forward for the band, and a sign that there is still more to come.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more at 

No comments: