Review: CLT DRP ‘Nothing Clever, Just Feelings’

Nothing Clever, Just Feelings, such an incredibly direct title for such an incredibly direct band. It says it all, it’s as punchy as the band themselves, and if ever an album were to rejuvenate what has become a stagnant alternative music genre, then this is it. Yes, that’s quite a statement, but then CLT DRP are quite the band to back up such a declaration.

CLT DRP 'Nothing Clever, Just Feelings' Artwork
CLT DRP ‘Nothing Clever, Just Feelings’ Artwork

If you have no awareness of Brighton’s CLT DRP, then now’s the time to jump on board, and hold on for the ride. Having come together in 2017, the trio have spent the last six years fine tuning, and burning a path for themselves, which has seen a string of singles, and the incredible debut album Without The Eyes released to much acclaim. It’s a band who have been, as much as time, and regulations have allowed, on the road, putting their money where their collective mouths are.

After having seen them perform twice, I am fully aware of just how blistering they are live, and both performances really showcased just how electrifying, and terrifying the band are.

Annie Dorrett doesn’t just vocalise, it’s a firm punch to the throat, via the ears, which will leave you both amazed and stunned. Daphne Koskeridou dominantly switches drum styles between electronica, and at times dance, to full on punk, like the flicking of a switch, and all the while Scott Lee Reynolds can be found in his own little corner of the universe, creating sounds via his guitar, the likes of which I’ve not seen done in such a dominating manner since the world first became aware of Tom Morrello.

The outpouring of all these elements is as hard to pigeonhole as it is to stamp any defining comparison to ANY other band who have stepped from the shadows over the years. Classed as ‘electro punk’ and a term widely used for the band, but this is so much more than that, and Nothing Clever, Just Feelings absolutely shows that such a loose term merely scratches the surface.

As mentioned, it’s difficult to point towards any real artist who CLT DRP are like. Yes, there are parallels with Peaches, but there’s also that Tom Morello meets Tricky sound going on, and for the sake of anything else, it’s easier to say that CLT DRP sound like CLT DRP.

So, with all this in mind, my memories of live shows, and a copy of the debut album to hand, as well as this new album, I would like to spend a bit of time trying to put forward some sort of review to contextualise both the band, and just how good I think this new long player really is.

CLT DRP are the real deal, fresh, unique, and a step forward for the whole alternative music scene…

As an overview, it is clear to see the evolution between Without The Eyes and Nothing Clever, Just Feelings. The debut was an aural assault, a call to arms, and the sound of a band eager to wipe out anyone who came across their path. It was a twelve-track statement of intent and firmly represented that a new entity was here, and needed to be acknowledged. Tracks such as Where The Boys Are and Like Father introduce both intensity and versatility, cutting between angsty verses, intensely powerful choruses and breakdowns.

Nothing Clever, Just Feelings is a step forward, and instead of replicating the debut, this feels like an evolution. It’s a more fine-tuned sound that still keeps CLT DRP’s unique dynamic while throwing in some new elements, which weren’t so apparent on Without The Eyes. There are moments of restraint, which compacts the intensity, feels very considered, and at times where you expect the band to go, they veer away from, and instead take things off in a completely different direction.

Tracks such as album opener New Boy takes no prisoners and remind us just what CLT DRP are capable of and known for. It’s a blazing track with a brash uniqueness that only they can deliver so masterfully. Equal parts vibrant and abrasive, they start strong, and this attitude never lets up, throughout the entire album.

Nothing Clever, Just Feelings, track two, and track eight, Daily Affirmations, both show the band’s enigmatic style and as such, are both highlights right from the first playthrough. These showcase them at their most dynamic. This isn’t to say that the rest of the album pales by comparison, that isn’t the case at all, Cake 4 The Women, for instance, is an incredible track and needs playing at maximum levels.

It’s on tracks such as I See My Body Through You, I Put My Baby To Sleep, and the phenomenal Easier Than This where that evolution really shines. A second album should always step things up a notch, but with these, it’s been multiple steps, and through it all, there haven’t been any missed.

CLT DRP are the real deal, fresh, unique, and a step forward for the whole alternative music scene. As for Nothing Clever, Just Feelings, the feeling here is that of excitement and love, in equal measure.

Label: Venn Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Lee Beamish