‘Dirty King’? Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

Review below originally published at A’n’E Vibe

I spent about a week procrastinating and finding a million others things to do than write this review. (When I finally did it just now, it only took ten minutes.) I was supposed to have it done awhile ago. The album was out June 23. God damn it. Why do I say ‘yes’ to things so quickly? It always ends with me pissing someone off and feeling guilty and as full of shame like a doughnut is full of jelly. Horrible analogy, I know, but let me indulge: The shame, like that jelly, is so bad for it almost gives you cancer at first bite, yet so, so, so good. But no, it’s not good, is it? It’s quite sickly and very untrustworthy. YET WHY DO YOU GIVE INTO IT? Why do I do these things to myself?

I think the answer is I am far too spontaneous. Sometimes this is fun, most of the time this is fun. In fact, the pros would whip the cons in a Celebrity Death Match, but still, I get myself in trouble a lot. Spontaneity is what caused me to suddenly plan a four-month trip to Europe, and spontaneity is what got me through most of it.Yet Spontaneity is what made me realize the NIGHT BEFORE I flew to Paris that I hadn’t got my line of credit signed off. Spontaneity got me wandering drunk through a Bavarian forest at midnight (true story). Spontaneity even got me laid a few times. Okay, several times. I do regret about 78% of those, however. Kidding. Kidding…. sort of.

Spontaneity is also what made me apply for film school, and get in. Spontaneity got me my job right now. Spontaneity made me start a zine distro. Spontaneity made me jump of a bridge. Spontaneity made me say ‘yes’ to starting a film company, to starting a magazine, to end up living where I am. I make decisions at the drop of a hat. On the turn of a screw. On the flip of a coin. Usually, however, they are something that has been flitting through my mind for awhile, the way we consider all life’s possibilities in that near-dreamlike state, until something triggers them, giving me the opportunity. I usually pounce at it before I realize exactly the magnitude of what I’ve done.

Sure, I regret some things I’ve done. But they are all frivolous regrets. Nothing worth turning back the clock on. The only few serious regrets I have are all of inaction. Isn’t it better to regret things you’ve done rather than regret things you haven’t done? Especially, of course, if the thing you haven’t done is write that review on time.

THE CLIKS – DIRTY KING (2009) (Warner Music Canada)

I feel lucky enough to say that I picked up The Cliks’ Dirty King back in May when they opened for the New York Dolls at Richard’s on Richards in Vancouver. The third album by the Canadian band, Dirty King is a deeper, richer, more diverse effort, that shows the band, and especially songwriter Lucas Silveira’s true coming-of-age. While the band has received plenty of attention due to Silveira’s status as a transman, this might appear unjust, as it truly is the music that deserves to be heard.

It is far to easy to listen to the album with the theme of sexual identity running through one’s mind, but that would be selling it short. Musically, Silveira’s work treads emo water, especially on tracks like Career Suicide and We Are the Wolverines; treads, yet transcends. Other tracks, like the eponymous Dirty King and Henry are simply great rock songs. These ones pull you in. Slower, deeper efforts like Not Your Boy and Henry keep you there. The only song I found myself skipping when I had the CD on repeat was Love Gun, which isn’t really that bad, but I just couldn’t get over the inherent cheesiness of the title. Alas, nothing’s perfect.

Despite this, I found Dirty King to be one of those elusive, yet wonderful things. One of those albums where (almost) each track stands on its own, but the album as a whole is a powerful combination. Having to live up to the reputation of being compared to everyone from the likes of David Bowie to the White Stripes to Chrissy Hynde, The Cliks have a style that is at once unique and familiar. They fit well into the fabric of contemporary rock, not too “indie” sounding, not too bland, and thus should be able to find a wide audience with this decent release.

1. “Haunted”
2. “Dirty King”
3. “Not Your Boy”
4. “Red and Blue”
5. “Henry”
6. “Emily”
7. “Career Suicide”
8. “Love Gun”
9. “We Are the Wolverines”
10. “Falling Overboard”
11. “Animal Farm”

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