Burden Piece is out now via Topshelf Records
Mixing restrained emo with slacker pop, Philadelphia’s CLIQUE make for an interesting proposition on their second album, and first for the reliably excellent Topshelf Records, Burden Piece. This is music that feels bruised and battered.
There’s a certain resignation in the measured pace and forelorn vocals. However, this stiocism is wonderfully contrasted with the major chord melodies and defiance of CLIQUE’s knack for a rather wonderfully large choruses.
This all means that when singer PJ Carroll sings, “Sometimes I wish I was someone else / Cos I have no control over myself” there is an odd underlying positivity to the delivery that renders the line as bizarrely hopeful despite its content. It is a record that demands repeated listens, and one that reveals more and more with each one. So it’s like an onion. Except it sounds better.
We asked the band to tell us about each track on the album, and we learned that impulse control, anxiety, and cats.
Worth is about workplace anxiety and daydreaming about the end of the day. It’s got those neat chromatic guitar parts to set the general mood. Sometimes work isn’t worth the time. Such is life. – Tom
2. Top Field
This is more or less a story of teen me and friends evading cops in the woods. – P.J.
This song is pretty much just about my fear of death and how I create most of my own problems. – Brandon
I have issues with impulse control and substance abuse. When I was younger I was more hopeful. – Travis
A SEPTA bus abruptly merged into the bike lane while I was hungover delivering food. I had to avoid it and almost got wrecked. The bus driver and I yelled at each other. I wrote and recorded the first version of Boundaries later that night. We bounced some ideas back and forth via demos and pieced the rest together at practice. – Travis
Athlet was based around an old riff I had never used for anything. For a while we were playing it twice as fast and it sounded kinda dumb. No one liked it much and we didn’t have vocals written. One practice we played it at half speed on a whim. Then people liked it. Tom wrote a cool outro. PJ ended up repurposing some lyrics that never got used for an old project. – Travis
We typically play ‘Crater’ 3-4 times per set to see if anyone notices. No one ever has.
‘Quappy’ is the name of me and Brandon’s cat. She has a lot of separation anxiety so most days when I come home she’s on the other side of the door waiting for me screaming. – P.J.
9. Wishful Thinking
Kind of a personal song to me about dealing with social exhaustion and anxiety. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to being worn out in social situations and wanting to isolate yourself. Kinda the dichotomy of enjoying the solitude of your own company and yearning for human contact but not having the capacity to do so. – P.J.
This is the first one we wrote for the record. It’s a Brandon song through-and-through, short and sweet. The lyrics are about navigating social media and trying to avoid becoming part of the hivemind. – Tom
We wrote this one together on acoustic guitars piece by piece. It’s my favorite one in terms of how the guitars and bass interact and kinda do their own thing. The lyrics are about taking drugs searching for “the answers” but coming up empty. – Tom
Had the pleasure of having our dear friend and collaborator Shannen Moser help us with vocal harmonies on the beginning of this track. She’s also on ‘Wishful Thinking’ and ‘Boundaries’. – P.J.
Fourth of July, 2010 – P.J.
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