CD REVIEW: Spencer Clark - Voices
By Levi Canfield
Artist: Spencer Clark
Weakness: Dull songwriting, Obscure commercial appeal, Very simple rhythm constructions
Dragging almost into the hour mark, Voices is the 2010 release by Spencer Clark. Chief guitarist and songwriter, Clark mulls together an ensemble cast to play his background band for Voices. The album is meant to be a culmination of “Alternative Rock, Pop Rock, New Country Rock, Progressive Rock, Blues and Love Ballads” according to his website.
The album kicks off to it’s best start with the fastest foot forward. “Tangled Love” is the single on his website, and correctly picked because it cuts down on the heady wordplay. For a 2nd track it should be introducing the listener to what’ is coming up on the album, unfortunately it’s just a downward spiral from there. What makes up for most of the album is Spencer Clark’s immaculate talent for writing a calming guitar riff to accompany the accommodating song. The bluesy lead guitar melodies make this album listenable. With a few extended listens (if possible) picking out the pearl from the mud can be done. It’s a shame that this had not been a more Bob Dylan-esque folk album.
One visit to Spencer’s website and you are immediately immersed in his music. Just like a friend showing you their annoying myspace page full of music, Spencer Clark’s site is plastered with amateur html and one repeating track. This is the exact quality from a band you would expect to see opening for Counting Crows at the local county fair. This sounds better as a background to some party, then a selected headphone listen. His songwriting at times sounds downright corny during songs such as “Slip, Slide, Stumble, and Fall”. Every time the chorus repeats itself “Slip, Slide…” feels like a Saturday Night Live skit by Adam Sandler. It’s completely laughable. The problem is that with the sincere vocals, you don’t know who the joke is truly on. This problem runs rampant through out most of the album. Adding insult to injury, the soft rock decadence Spencer indulges in, only pushes his commercial peel further away. If people wanted to listen to catchy soft rock, they’d pick up an Eagles record. Rather than using the slow/soft spectrum to his advantage, the extra space just feels wasted to the monotonous drone from one song to the next.
After all is said and done, Spencer Clark is more an entrepreneur then a artist. If there was a time for him to make it as an artist, it has past long ago. Now while he tours the United States, he also barters his wine. Effectively making for an overall probably laid back show. To say this stands alone as merit to the music world is silly, but this would definitely make a good jam tune to hear in the background at a local fair, while tasting wine. Voices is in the end, just another sub par soft rock album by a middle aged man who can pick a tune on his guitar.
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