If I were the sort of person who relied on cheap comparisons and less than subtle name-drops, I would at this point be mentioning people like Nick Cave, Damien Rice, and perhaps Elliott Smith. Thankfully I am above such unimaginative approaches to reviewing music.
Ian Clement builds music largely from understatement and a clever use of space. Even when really going for the foot-on-the-monitor, rock and roll vibe, with songs such as For A Rose or the bluesy Run That Mile, there is always something more astute and smarter at work. For every crashing chord or upbeat lick there are any number of neat points of construction, deft changes of direction and ornate sonic motifs balancing things out.
And like any great music, it is a double-barrelled salvo, half smart musical chops, half poignant and considered lyrics. With the utmost of raw and open honesty, he weaves accounts of everything from thoughts whilst convalescing following breakdowns to finding happiness in the face of his own mortality, of redemption and self-development, of relationships both with the physical and the mystical, the self and the other, fact and fantasy.
It feels like an album that Ian Clement has made just to confront his own demons, to find his own peace of mind, to find out who he really is and any possible commercial potential and wider interest are the last things on his mind. But in doing so he has delivered a set of songs which will resonate with everyone, which explore the human condition, its highs and its lows, perfectly.
The lesson is perhaps to creatively do what matters most to you as an individual, do that and you might find that you although you might have set out to make something wholly personal, you have created something massively relatable and excitingly universal along the way.