Cat Clyde – Ivory Castanets
A bit like an oracle or your kid sister who is smarter than you, Cat Clyde’s Ivory Castanets combines the aesthetics of youth and old-timey bar tunes with impressive dexterity. It is hard wood, steel string, dusty-boot music for listeners up for a good mud fight.
“Sheets of Green”, a front porch foot stomper, is deliciously catchy – like smacking your lips after snacking on a mixed brew of honeysuckle dew and whiskey. The twangy guitar carries the driving pulse and Clyde’s master wordsmithing is paired with a fearless melody, contorting phonemes into clever rhythms and vibrant imagery.
“Mama said”, the single off of Ivory Castanets, tells a story of escape, change and maternal advice in the midst of a Noah’s Ark situation of flood and destruction. The song captures the resistance between heart and mind in the midst of transition. A slow-burning summer tune, this is one of those songs you’ll want to blast in the car – if not for its contagious nonchalance, then for the lap steel solo that drips into your ears like honey bee nectar on the 4th of July.
“Chimes in the night”, the final song of the album, begins as a cosmic cruise, sailing through the scales of a Rhodes piano, leaving droplets of melancholy in its wake. The basic structure of the songs is endearingly minimalist – almost like a duet between Clyde and the North Star. Lyrically, the song explores how intimate relationships might heal a person’s history, how we move on by placing ourselves right back smack in the middle of love and the ever-expanding ether of the universe. It is an outward-facing track that is refreshingly atmospheric after an album of songs grounded deep in country dirt and overgrown hallows.
Throughout the album, Clyde’s vocal quality communicates a consistently raw honesty, reminiscent of artists like Laura Veirs and First Aid Kit. Like the gun-totin’ granddaughter of Annie Oakley, Clyde wields her guitar like a smoking pistol and Ivory Castanets burns like a bonfire.