CLEM SNIDE Soft Spot (spinART) Rating: NNN
Like NYC's Soul Coughing, Clem Snide are one of those arty indie bands who're unabashedly smarter than the average bear, and they know it. But unlike M Doughty, frontman Eef Barzelay applies his lyrical wit to tunes that are immediately accessible - and sonically gorgeous. Soft Spot offers layered, nicely arranged indie chamber music with multivalent instrumentation that harks back to Barzelay's jazz ensemble past. He wears his emotions like a raw red heart bleeding all over his sleeve but tempers typical indie-boy mopiness with a wry delivery and whip-smart turns of phrase. When it works, Clem Snide pull off a range of downtempo and bouncy pop so impressive that you can excuse the few tracks of quiet filler.