We gave it an A
A band could do a lot worse than evoke the melodic miserablism of the Smiths, the grim humor of the Psychedelic Furs, and the laddish buzz of Blur. And no one in recent memory has done that better than Clearlake, whose veddy British Cedars (Dusty Company/Domino) explodes with beautiful guitar pop shrouded in danger. Like their stunning 2001 debut, Lido, this hasn’t been released domestically. Unlike that scrappy CD, Cedars is blessed with sumptuous production from ex-Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde, whose melodramatic flourishes shine on the locomotive single ”Almost the Same” and the string-drenched, tortured and jaunty ”The Mind Is Evil.” Though singer-guitarist Jason Pegg’s lyrics dwell on resignation and regret, summoning gray skies and mossy bogs, the roiling tunes make it all seem gloriously hopeful. A chill-inducing delight.