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Twelve Clay Feet – Totem Bells (Review)

Twelve Clay Feet, Totem Bells

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

THERE’S something of an irony in writing that you have to wait right until the end of Twelve Clay Feet’s album Twelve Bells to find its first really good track. By then, however, it’s a bit too late.

The Cambridge-based rockers claim to have been bred on a musical diet of Syd Barrett and The Byrds via Gomez and Led Zeppelin, not to mention the likes of John Keating’s Space Experience 1979 and indie, blues and contemporary rock.

Unfortunately, the album that has resulted seems content to ply its trade amid the heavy rock path, with a lot of the songs coming over as dark and brooding in the way that the likes of Nickelback and co know how.

The one good song, Red Moon, shakes up this formula somewhat with a bluesy guitar opening that’s much, much better and leaves you wondering why they didn’t attempt more of it throughout.

Admittedly, Cornfed opens proceedings with some hopefully brooding guitar riffs, hinting at Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin. But Ian Jeffs’ brooding lead vocal needs more of an injection of life than it ultimately gives the track.

And therein lies one of the album’s bigger problems, for while some of the guitar-work is interesting, the husky/moody delivery largely remains the same until we hit that final track.

Still Life, for instance, opens amid some genuinely melodic, even chiming guitar riffs, before Jeffs’ vocals drag it back towards more harder alt-rock territory, while the reactionary Sarajevo Bombs offers a mellower instrumental but still struggles to sound anything other than the obligatory slow number.

Sour Rum goes nowhere slowly, Casino Rules flatters to deceive with a lively opening before more brooding vocals undermine it, and even the more ‘direct’ Battles fails to make the required impact despite a brisker pace and a meatier guitar sound.

You really do have to wait until that final track to get anywhere close to excited. But by then a lot of listeners may have given up.

Download pick: Red Moon

Track listing:

  1. Cornfed
  2. Tribal Girls
  3. Still Life
  4. Sarajevo Bombs
  5. Sour Rum
  6. Casino Rules
  7. Battles
  8. Give Yourself Away
  9. Mutant Fingers
  10. Circus Tricks
  11. Red Moon