The James Clark Institute “The Colour of Happy”
We loved the way that the bio for Toronto music based artist James Clark described him as the ‘doctor of pop’ with a prescription for simple, three minute blasts of medicinal music. It certainly made us want to book an appointment at his surgery!
The album begins with the aptly titled “Little Powder Keg” which is an explosive little power pop gem and together with “Yellow” provide an opening double whammy which will have you instantly tapping your feet and singing along. Together with tracks like “Blue In The Red Room” and “Better Than I Remember” these are brilliant power pop songs which recall the classic song writing style of Elvis Costello. Whilst “Selfish Portrait” is likely a long-lost gem from the sadly short-lived Jellyfish.
Although a more apt comparison may be Costello’s compatriot Joe Jackson. Songs like “Should I Tell Her” and “Truth Serum Time” add a level of complexity and texture that goes beyond what you’d expect from a simple pop song. They’re still packed full of melody but there is just a greater sophistication and classic songwriting style to them.
If you’re looking for some examples of great modern pop songs, then you’d struggle to find anything better than “Squint Your Eyes” and “Next Best Thing”. These tracks are deceptively simple. They seem to be effortless but the failure of most artists to deliver songs of this quality shows how hard it is to achieve. That’s the real beauty of this release, it keeps things simple with an economic ten songs all delivered in just over half an hour. But that’s half an hour of great music which will make your life far richer. An absolute gem of an album.