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[Off The Record]
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Clem Snide

Clem Snide have come a long way to get to The Ghost of Fashion, their third album. They started out as a punkish outfit in Boston 10 years ago, then moved to New York and jumped into the alterna-country scene. Sire signed them and released Your Favorite Music, their solid second album, before dropping them during a label merger.

Sireís loss is spinARTís gain: The Ghost of Fashion is the bandís best album yet. spinART also recently reissued Your Favorite Music, and whereas that one tended toward a sarcastic deadpan attitude, Ghost livens things up a little. Melancholy humor is still the strongest weapon in the bandís arsenal, but songs like " Ice Cube " pop with big rock chords and a horn section.

Pete Fitzpatrick (of Bostonís Pee Wee Fist) adds some quirky lead guitar, banjo, and euphonium to the mix. " Joan Jett of Arc, " though it delves into í80s kitsch, still works as a heartbreaking ballad, and " No Oneís More Happy Than You " is as catchy as it is melancholy, with its well-honed sing-along chorus. There are a few points where singer/songwriter Eef Barzelay is a little too inscrutable for his own good ó like the line " Calgon take me away " in " Ancient Chinese Secret Blues. " But part of Clem Snideís charm is that theyíre willing to commit moments like that to tape in the first place.


Issue Date: August 2 - 9, 2001

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