CLEAN, The - Vehicle 2LP
The songs on Vehicle hold their own. Instead of the rough and ready four-track recordings that marked their early singles and EPs, Vehicle sounds very much like a studio creation, though the fuller sound didn’t harm the performances. Part of the pleasure lies in hearing how each of the band members is so distinct, creating the type of collaboration where the individual parts’ strength meshes rather than trying to outstrip another. The singing from all three is a core part of the Clean's appeal, the back-and-forth between Scott’s affable but never cloying voice and the Kilgours’ slightly gentler but no less engaging approach. Leads are almost always matched by harmonies, and the feeling throughout Vehicle is one of continuity. Scott’s vocal turns on “Big Soft Punch” and “The Dunes” are beautiful contrasts against the giddy arrangements-- especially on “The Dunes”, where he almost seems to easily sashay through both verse and chorus, riding the choppy, always focused shimmer of the arrangement like it was the steadiest thing ever recorded. On songs like “Getting to You” and “Bye Bye”, the distinctive and immediate organ sound that defined them from the start remains, exchanging spikiness and hear-the-keys-being-pressed feeling for an energetic warmth.