Like some glorious love child of Velvet Underground and The Jesus and Mary Chain, and best buddies with Courtney Barnett, Clarke and the Himself‘s debut single ‘Weighted Down’ has a fuzzy deceptively simple sweet drone attack: sibilant cymbals, grunge guitars and the sweetest repeated melody backed by a plonking piano. All the remarkable for the fact that the band is in effect Clarke herself alone: a solo project.
Clarke says the track’s themes were born out of the last stand of the Trump administration as COVID spread through the world as viewed through an incessant 24 news cycle overload:
Songs are interesting because they’re usually about a few different things. This is just the stuff I was thinking about at the time. I was also thinking about how you can watch someone die on the internet only moments after it happens in real life. Or read about it. Whether it’s someone you know or someone you don’t. You’re zapped and you gotta traipse it through this devoid environment.
There is also a deeply personal element as Clarke took stock of her own life:
For years it was easier for me to leave than it was to stay. There was nothing grounded in my life and I was trying to work on that. Everybody’s also dealing with historical reparations and restituting the crimes of the past. At the same time everyone’s just at each other’s throats. But they’re not really. It’s an illusion. It’s being forced on to us the moment it happens. When I wrote ‘Weighted Down’ there was the thought I had that in light of everything going on, there was something really comfortable about the idea of being crushed to death as a reasonable way out. Metaphorically, or otherwise.
Despite the darker aspects, there is an unadulterated sense of joy and freedom in the song: singalong choruses and an uplifting beat with sweet sixties-infected doo-wop singing:
‘Weighted Down’ by Clarke and the Himselfs is released on Backseat Mafia favourite Charlie Clark’s burgeoning No Big Deal Music label now. Stream on Spotify and Apple Music. The single will feature on Clarke’s upcoming full length LP ‘The One and Only Clarke and the Himselfs’, with release TBA.