If the single Fly High (Like Richard Branson) was shot through with musical references from throughout the decades and across the generic spectrum, then a full album from Clark Twain takes that idea to even greater heights. In fact it is like playing hop-scotch where each box represents a different era or sound. In some people’s hands this might seem like too much to juggle, might make for a messy or overly complex approach to music but not here. And whilst Twain is a fan of a big sound, Life Is Wonderful reveals that there is much more to him than that and he manages to weave these various musical threads together into a seamless and enchanting design.
And if the aforementioned single was indeed a great example of a big, euphoric pop-rock sound, one which also drives songs like Made For This and the album opener Best Is Yet To Come, with the room that a full album allows he gets the chance to explore any number of parallel paths and sonic byways.
Wedding Bells is a glorious piece of graceful folk meets classically infused pop, sweeping and emotive, Dreams feels like a bedroom busk, sparse, brief and tantalisingly unadorned and Tiny Windows is a jaunty piece of 80’s inspired electro-pop. Home I particularly love, again for the spaciousness and understatement, just enough musical detail frames the lyrics, merely serving the song, framing the message and allowing enough space for the vocals to do all the real work and Try Too Hard has the same commercial know-how and infectiousness of a Cheap Trick ballad.
Fly High showed us that Clark Twain was great at a certain type of retro driven, big beat, pop-rock song. Life is Wonderful shows us that he is the master of pop in all its forms. Not the throwaway, production line chart bound stuff, why would you bother with that anyway… but pretty much everything else.
Buy the album HERE