With an impressive CV behind him, Scottish musician Charlie Clark has struck out on his own with the most brilliant, chiming single ‘Don’t Have A Cow, Man!’. This is a pulse quickening bell that rings out with jangling guitars, lush choruses and a sense of strength and rebirth. With mastering from Ride’s Mark Gardener and Clark signing to Alan McGee’s new label ‘It’s Creation Baby’, it’s no wonder there is something very special going on here.
Clark recently moved back to Glasgow after building a reputation in Los Angeles for music promotion. He has lent his skills in the past to band such as Mogwai, Arab Strap and Snow Patrol, and founded Glaswegian band Astrid and played with a host of other indie pop greats.
His return to Scotland was bittersweet – family tragedy and a developing problem with addiction propelled him away from LA:
I wrote the chorus of ‘Don’t Have A Cow, Man!’ just before moving back to Scotland from Los Angeles and finished it in Stornoway… I came home to help care for my father who was terminally ill so I had some serious s**t to get together.
This sense of rebirth and renewal positively shines and pours out of every note, every word:
I don’t know if it is intentional but the recount of drugs in the chorus recalls the pattern of Lorde’s ‘Royals’, replacing the words with a brutal list of drugs of addiction rather than recounting superficial material possessions:
Caffeine, Nicotine, Cocaine…help bring me down
I don’t want to die and be a junkie my whole life
There is a deep-seated melancholia suffused throughout the pop brilliance, the layered harmonies glow and the melodies are indelible and anthemic. There is a ray of LA sunshine mixed in with the Scottish ear for melody and brutal honesty: a cathartic release.
Clark notes that there is deliberate tension between the sounds and the themes but above all a message of hope:
A friend said it’s like ‘Sit Down’ by James on very strong sedatives! Having said all that I also wanted it to have a good groove and make people dance! It’s a slice of indie pop definitely inspired by more 60’s style pop. I hope people see it as a positive message as obviously I chose to live!”
This is truly a great single which augurs well for his just announced 2021 solo album, ‘Late Night Drinking’. ‘Don’t Have A Cow, Man!’ is out on 5 February 2021.