The Clicks are Keith O’Brien and Shane Davis, two acoustic troubadours who have been ploughing their trade in several other projects, before a meeting of like minds led to the formation of The Clicks. “Available for bookings for half an hour to three-hour sets” goes the blurb – yes they started life as a covers band and are still ploughing that trade. But for O’Brien and Davis this has helped them to produce a sound on this, their debut EP, of real quality. Their voices, clearly used to each other’s company, blend and weave together as they swap lead vocals for verses and draw strong harmonies in each chorus.
While the ‘Time Goes By’ EP won’t win any prizes for originality, it’s a well-written and well-produced record. Things start off with the jaunty title track, whose upbeat rhythm belies the melancholy in the lyrics: “Feels like I’m getting older now / torched land that can’t be ploughed”. While in the chorus they sing of “dry riverbeds” and “kaleidoscopic skies” which seems a bit contradictory.
This is followed by the melodically strong Bodies, which, with its accented singing and stark imagery, could just as easily have been penned by King Creosote. Like Time Goes By, the song is enriched by judicious use of cello and violin, which kick the whole song up a notch. However, just as it feels like it’s building towards a swell of emotion, it ends rather abruptly.
The saccharine Lullaby, another ballad, comes next. A song literally about lulling someone to sleep – which is ironic as it very nearly achieves this goal. “I will open up my mouth and make you smile / I will sing notes and words and stories about birds as if you were a child”, go the rather clunky lyrics. Again the harmonies and production values are top notch, but a little more adventure would go a long way here.
Oh My Sweet Carolina sounded so familiar, and the lyrics so unlikely to be sung by two Irishmen, that a google search was necessary to verify that it was indeed a cover. Ryan Adams sang the original on ‘Heartbreaker’, his debut album. It was noteworthy that on the download received by GoldenPlec for review, the song credits were given to O’Brien and Davis. Tut-tut! Other than that oversight the cover is competent without breaking any new ground.
The EP ends with one of its stronger tracks. I Know I’ve Won is a compilation of the best bits of The Clicks: earnest lyrics, a memorable melody, vocal sharing and note-perfect harmonies. The “winning” is, of course, in love. These boys sound like they mean it. Good on them.