Looming, Ambiguous, Radiant. Clark, Iradelphic.

It feels like an infinity since Chris Clark last graced us with the fractious, if fantastical Totems Flare and upon stuffing returning record Iradelphic into iTunes, that it's immediately earmarked as a 'Pop' album may momentarily perplex. The reality is of course that Iradelphic is, to vigorously expel such a notion, anything but a 'Pop' album. Propulsive and progressive and quite possibly to become quite popular yes, but 'Pop' no. Clark states of the record: "To me Iradelphic is looming, ambiguous, radiant. Glowing, whole, invincible, complete." Again, it may be considered all these adjectives and more, yet never 'Pop'.

Comprising field recordings taped down in the restrained wilds of Snape, Sussex, £8,000 Cold War mics, Dictaphones and perhaps most importantly and hugely prominently, guitars, Iradelphic is the sort of limitlessly expressive, ultimate LP anyone ever to have been pricked by the venomous impulse music provides would relentlessly strive to conjure. And yet Clark's latest glistens with a fluid effortlessness, the same effortlessness with which he picked up the guitar: "I played a lot of guitar after leaving England, played pretty obsessively everyday for about a year. I never played it before but I picked it up pretty quick I reckon. I'm just stubborn with stuff like that" he enthuses quite amusingly. Whether it be conscientious or otherwise, like a kid with a new lump of multicoloured plastic to go hurling about it is the most flagrant differentiation between past and present and it is overtly present from the off: the hypnotic, Asiatic swirls of opener Henderson Wrench swivel on charming, snake-like wisps of acoustic, whilst similar wafts are afforded cinematic stature on the escapist groove of Tooth Moves as they buzz insistently about live drums and instrumental swells like pacific wasps. The plucky twang of Open could conceivably be a pivotal composition from a lost Albarn 'opera', this impression enhanced by the appearance of the vocals of Martina Topley-Bird that are, as anticipated, sweeter than the gunk stuck up a budding honeysuckle, prior to Clark going all M. Ward on us with the humble distorted thrum of Ghosted. "I know you're not here any more so why do you keep on coming round?" Clark enquires as if some lowly anti-folk pinup although these spectral tones that creep through its dying moments only serve to intensify the chill factor of the affecting pianistic dolor of the ensuing Black Stone. It's Clark's Pyramid Song whilst The Pining Pt1 is his 15 Step however it's the second of its three segments that truly inflames enthusiasm: a dogged skiffle permeated by impactive rimshots and fleeting bursts of fanciful guitar, he here establishes himself as an artist wholly in control of his finely honed craft. However never is this more attuned to subjective whim than when Clark has a right old rifle through the electronics, whether that be on the eerie yowls, screeches and blurts of Skyward Bruise/Descent or Iradelphic's imperious apex, Com Touch. So colossal in sound, were it constructed in tangible form it'd come to constitute some monumental temple out of corybantic Aztec fantasy and all who heard it would helplessly bow down before it. 

As indeed they would and should to Iradelphic; a monument to tower above our endless monotony.