BY ROBIN MUMFORD OF THE INDIE PLUG
The Space Between My Ears spawned from a deep meaning, exploring the sinister undertones of mental health, a problem at its apex in 2021. The album serves as a solo debut for Mike Clerk, the ex-frontman of The Lost Generation. Clerk offers a wealth of experience in the music industry, proving it with his layers of dark textures in his riffs and lyrics, submerging listeners into an emotionally driven first release.
During his first spell in music, the Scottish-born singer/songwriter enjoyed jamming out at shows including Alan McGee's Death Disco and Club NME in London, a range of experiences that cultivated the mature sounds we hear in his solo work.
It is always a pleasure to listen to a debut release for the first time, especially as you never know what to expect. Good For Me symbolises this idea, opening the album with a profusion of sounds. An early echo of electronic stutters quickly evolves into an acoustic throbbing as Clerk coils his passion filtrating voice around it like a snake.
Thoughts of Fools follows in the tracklist, his debut single, a song that proved to be the catalyst to Clerk's solo ventures in the industry. After an extended absence from the music scene, Thoughts of Fools generated appreciation from a fanbase he no longer knew existed. A generous, but somewhat forceful instrumental, weeps across the track, denoting that deeper cynicality that has become known in Clerk's repertoire.
Later on in the album, Pour it Down takes on a conservative approach, something that is carried over to Come Down With Me, portraying the singer's limitless experience to know what flow is necessary for each tune. While many artists get carried away with blasting spellbound anthems that raise the temperature, Clerk offers a measured outlook, corroborating in a well-rounded first release.
Progressive and succinctly dark-toned, You When You follows the pattern of smoky mirror songs that seek to swamp listeners into the underbelly of a deeper and darker dimension. Throughout the whole release, you will feel as though you're walking through a misty forest, looking for clues to a crime. The echoing instrumentals and whispering vocals in So Bizzare exemplify just this.
There are eleven tracks to delve into, giving you a range of sounds, but they all generate that same mysterious feel to them. The Space Between My Ears is hopefully just a shot of the starting gun, signalling a bright future for Mike Clerk's solo tenure. The context of a global pandemic, laced with deeper meanings of mental health, only heightens this releases relevance. Clerk's musical maturity shines through; we hope this is just the beginning. *** 1/2