Twelve Clay Feet – Totem Bells review

Cambridge bred rock group, Twelve Clay Feet burst onto the music scene with their debut album, ‘Totem Bells’, on the back of their most recent tour.

It appears the band isn’t just another rock quartet that will eventually get lost in my pile of ever growing CD’s, this being due to the fact I’ve been presented with pleasantly surprising echo’s of Ray LaMontagne, Queens Of The Stone Age and 30 Seconds To Mars.

The album opens with ‘Cornfed’ – made up of a fairly melodious wah-wah assisted guitar riff, a thumping set of drills from Radford on drums, and a dirty bass line that sits happily in between.
The opening track of an album generally gives the consumer a good idea of what to expect from the rest, but not this time. The album evocatively evolves from that, into something I wasn’t expecting at all. ‘Sarajevo Bombs’, an acoustically driven emotional track that delves into the conflict of Bosnia’s attempt for independence in the mid-90s. Well composed and an interesting piece of music, but I’d be interested to find out how the Serbs, Bosnians and Croatians feel about it.

‘Sour Rum’, ‘Casino Rules’ and ‘Battles’ follow similar musical routes – hosting and upbeat and well directed musical command. Twelve Clay Feet’s rhythm section comprised of Porsa and Radford, work very well together, forming a sturdy platform for twins, Ian and Jay, to lead their vocals and forever changing guitar riffs.

The album’s balance is impressive, but nothing prepared me for their big close of ‘Red Moon’. It opens with a typical 1940’s type slide guitar riff, but quickly grows into a proper contemporary blues rock number.

The way in which the guitar will drop out and re-enter proves a quality level of understanding within the quartet – something that can’t be forced in any group. Ray LaMontagne influences dance around the group in ‘Red Moon’ and I can’t decide whether the band have done this on purpose or not.
It’s strong, preformed with character and charm and perfectly rounds up the album – so many unexpected additions ranging from the newly introduced syncopation on the drums to the blues riddled bass line, constantly present and driving the track.

Finally the brother’s harmonised accapella vocals round everything up “…red moon raise like a sabre, crescent moon wave like a sabre, at you”. Perfect.

Overall the band demonstrate willingness and determination that one wouldn’t normally expect from debutants. It’s clear they’ve found a strong sound (albeit fairly varied) early on in their careers, and I think this will work to their esteem masterfully.

Find the published review at DEAD PRESS

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