Review: CLAPCLAPCLAP! by IV of Spades

CLAPCLAPCLAP! by IV of SpadesWell, surprise. Now it’s IV of Spades’ turn to drop an album in the middle of night, from out of the blue, although unlike with former vocalist Unique Salonga’s surprise release, we’ve heard a bunch of these songs before in recorded form. Still, it doesn’t change how exciting CLAPCLAPCLAP! feels. The energy from the get-go is irresistible; the record flows as if the three boys are saying “we cannot be stopped”, and that’s even in the slower moments. (Spotlight to the achingly beautiful album closer, “I Would Rather Live Alone”.) Some qualities here, we’ve already seen, particularly the continued mining of evergreen approaches that you’d trace from the pop-rock of the 60s and 70s. (It helps that Zild Benitez’s falsetto really reminds me of the Bee Gees, especially when they go glitterring disco.) If anything the record feels like the band’s been liberated from stylistic shackles, allowing them to explore a wider sonic palette without the burden of expectation. (That also helps to cover up the clear difference in the writing, which I expect to evolve soon – new paths and all, after all.) Perhaps the dramatic split last year served well for both parties; both Grandma and CLAPCLAPCLAP! feel essential, a rare feat for debut albums. But then, I’ll admit comparing the two is not what I should do. It does both a disservice and dilutes one important fact from both records: the future is secure. [NB]4/5

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