Monday, 16 July 2012

Clara Engel - Madagascar EP

EP review by KevW


If we discount classical music and music that's designed to be enjoyed in, shall we say, an altered state of mind, then you'll find there's a reason why most songs that fall underneath the colossal umbrella of 'popular music' are between two and four minutes in length. To string a song out past the six or seven minute mark without it becoming boring, it either has to be made of different, changing segments, slowly build so that as it gets better you don't notice the time passing, be a hypnotic psych/drone mammoth, or, simply, be bloody amazing. Unfortunately just being a good song won't be enough to satisfy our impatient, easily distracted human attention spans. The first track on this EP by Toronto musician Clara Engel clocks in at 07:16. Skip buttons at the ready?

Hell no. From humble beginnings come great things. The quiet acoustic guitar of the first couple of minutes is disguised behind a voice that contains more heartfelt soul than the entire roster of Brit School graduates. It doesn't chop and change, it's not a drone, it does build, although not to a monumental degree with orchestras and marching bands or anything. This is the other option: 'Blind Me' is purely an amazing amazing song, voices swell, drums and forlorn brass come in and there's enough emotion make even the most hardened pair of ears prick up and be drawn in. Of course no encore would match it, but the other two tracks on the 'Madagascar EP' are no ugly ducklings either. 'Madagascar' and 'Accompanied By Dreams' would, in any other circumstances be worthy of top billing. Sadly for them, this EP is all about 'Blind Me', a truly powerful, impressive and awe-inspiring piece of music, and one that deserves a great big "wow!"


Clara Engel's website

Stream or buy the EP






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