As I continue searching for new music to share every week, it is always a pleasure to find new talent in so many different genres. It is especially inspiring to find such talent among dear friends. Then, the excitement becomes two-fold: not only sharing good music, but sharing good music from those whose talents you believe in, and those you want to see succeed.
Such is the case this week with Clark's Secret Identity (CSI for short), a Pennsylvania-based band that only formed within the last couple years, but whose bandmembers I have known for a long time and whose musical talents of which I am more than aware. One might think that this gives me a bias towards the music, but to be honest, CSI's unique brand of prog-flavored, avante-garde art-rock is just the sort of thing I'm into. This is vintage prog that brings back the days of Yes, King Crimson, and early Genesis—yet with modern influences ranging anywhere from gothic metal to punk rock.
I have never been much on-board with what is considered “prog” these days—to me, prog does not have a lot of screaming vocals, but maybe I am just old-fashioned. So to hear a vocalist like CSI's Shane Anthony—a singer who actually sings—I like that a lot. I also love prog power-trios (Rush being one of my favorite bands, after all), so to hear 3 guys with such an expansive sound is very exciting to me (the fact that the multi-talented Shane also plays guitar and keyboards while singing is quite the impressive feat—but don't overlook the solid rhythm section of bassist Keith Horning and drummer Matthew Bankes either!). I wrote last year that CSI was one of the bands I was most looking forward to hearing more from in 2016, and as a very tough year in music comes to a close, CSI emerges from the darkness and shines their bright potential straight into 2017.
Their first single (and first video), “Dolce Vita”, is directed by Theresa Gaffney, former frontwoman of Phoenix Reign, another band I have praised on this blog and in other writings. The teaming of Gaffney and CSI is fierce: the band jams in an enclosed area, interspersed with shots of each bandmember standing alone and looking very serious. The fuzzy guitars are reminiscent of ’90s hard rock, but then the xylophone comes in—because it ain't prog without a xylophone!
I also love the band's lyrical content: to me, good prog bands write lyrics that tell stories, open up fascinating imagery in one's mind, and take you outside of yourself. This song, lyrically, speaks to the insanity in the world today, and trying to find the goodness still left behind. Not a bad message considering the hopelessness that has seemed to define this entire year. If this is just a single, then the entire album looks to be very promising indeed.
CSI's debut full-length album, aptly titled The Promise of a Wonderful Future, is available December 6th.
For more information on Clark's Secret Identity, or to purchase music, visit their Bandcamp page.
Extra-special thanks to Matthew Bankes, Keith Horning, and Shane Anthony.