Review : Clue To Kalo - Lily Perdida
NoripcordLily Perdida is dead. At least, I think she’s dead. As the final notes of Clue to Kalo’s Lily Perdida waft from my speakers, eventually fading into the everyday static of ticking clocks and running water that is the norm in my household, I’m left to sit in wonder about the life of the album’s titular main character. By providing us with a barometer that’s little more than a garbled he-said-she-said of ideas and details, Lily Perdida’s unique narrative structure invites us to contemplate the intricacies of this fictional girl’s life without ever truly dispensing enough information to validate or confirm our observations.
Lily Perdida isn’t a concept album so much as it is a character profile, a picture of Lily painted by ten different brushes. Over the course of its ten tracks, Mark Mitchell (under the guise of his mystic sobriquet Clue to Kalo) slowly unfolds various aspects of this girl’s life, each told by a distinct character (or set of characters) and from a distinct point of view. For sure, it’s difficult to sort through this mass of information and parse out what is or isn’t true, but this confusion over the reality of Lily’s life can’t be blamed solely on the record’s contradictory representation of her character.
Occasionally during the album, Mitchell dips into a vocal delivery that seems directly descended from Kevin Shields and My Bloody Valentine. On Hail to the Full Release, By the Boy, Mitchell conveys his convoluted lyrical content through an almost indecipherable layer cake of whispers and moans, causing his mishmash of vocal lines to become inseparably entwined with the track’s electronic folk aesthetic. Then, when the organ kicks in around the song’s 35 second mark, the issue is only further confused and the song evolves into a somewhat oblique wall of noise, albeit a pretty one. On much of the album, though, Mitchell’s hushed crooning clearly conveys his obtuse libretto, which when paired with Ellen Carey’s childish, tinny vocals come off like what might happen if Sufjan Stevens were to sing duet with Joanna Newsom....full text
PopmattersAs a label, Mush is primarily known for hip-hop and secondarily for electronic music. Following in the footsteps of Marc Bianchi (a.k.a. Her Space Holiday), Clue To Kalo falls squarely into neither genre, starting off with bubbly glitch downtempo and now sounding like a full live band. With his third album, basement genius Mark Mitchell continues his evolution along side partner in crime Ellen Carey from sparse electronic pop depression into a full Animal Collective like sunshine laptop spectacle, only more coherent. Lily Perdida doesn’t sound like the work of a lone Australian with a female vocal accompaniment. Many an unassuming customer could be convinced this album is the work of a lost psych-pop ensemble. It is Mitchell’s most organic fusion yet, dripping with indie psychedelia through delicate melodies of acoustic guitar, harpsichord, flute, and anything under the stairs he could squeeze through his soundcard. It’s as impressive as it is warm and charming. I wouldn’t have said so after his sophomore release, but I believe he now deserves to be seen on the same level as Mr. Bianchi....full text
AllmusicWith each album, Clue to Kalo (aka Mark Mitchell) has made significant musical strides. It's One Way, It's Every Way added more structure, vocals, and live instrumentation to Come Here When You Sleepwalk's delicately glitchy melodies, and Lily Perdida sounds even fuller and livelier than It's One Way, It's Every Way did, with brisk, bouncy indie pop that sounds more than a little like fellow Aussies Architecture in Helsinki (who seem to be on the opposite trajectory from Clue to Kalo, adding more electronic elements to their sound with each release). Lily Perdida is also more conceptual than It's One Way, It's Every Way; considering that that album was described by Mitchell as "a musical palindrome" about death, that's saying something. This album tells the life story of its titular character from birth to death, using the view points of those close to her: The Brother, The Familiars, etc. However, the music doesn't get bogged down in the concept -- in fact, it's barely apparent unless you listen along with the lyric sheet (which reveals cleverly written lines like "Lull for Dear Life -- by the Parents"' "Lily, first of three to take us over/You'll turn to grief as you grow older"). What is immediately recognizable is that this is some of Mitchell's most purposeful sounding music: where Come Here When You Sleepwalk drifted and swirled like pixels in a digital breeze and It's One Way, It's Every Way offered linear song progressions, Lily Perdida is crisp instead of wispy, offering lots of immediate hooks and melodies, especially on the Belle & Sebastian-esque "User to a Carrier -- by the Sister," the he-said she-said breakup story of "It's Here the Story's Straight" and "The Infinite Orphan," which boasts an irresistible keyboard line and hand drums. Not all of the album reaches these heights, but most of Lily Perdida is charming -- it's like these songs were always within Mitchell's reach, but were buried underneath processing and slower tempos in his earlier work, and they're bursting out here....full text
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