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Clem Snide, An LP For Now


Clem Snide FOREVER JUST BEYOND. Ramseur Records/Thirty Tigers

FOREVER JUST BEYOND is the first Clem Snide record to be released in five years. The band will be touring with Scott Avett as and when the current coronavirus emergency is over (tour originally planned for 2020).

“The last ten years have been a rollercoaster of deep despair and amazing opportunities that somehow present themselves at the last possible second,” says Eef Barzelay. “That this record even exists, as far as I’m concerned, is a genuine miracle.”

Produced by Scott Avett, the songs grapple with hope and depression, identity and perception, God and afterlife. And all captured through Barzelay’s off-kilter lens and intimate air that suggests the comfort of a late-night conversation between friends. Avett’s production is warm and inviting and the spacious arrangement of gentle guitars and spare percusiion carves a wide path for his insightful lyrics and idiosyncratic delivery.

I look up to Eef with total respect and admiration.” Adds Avett. “I hope to survive like he survives: with total love for the new and unknown. Eef’s a crooner and an indie darling by sound and a mystic sage by depth. That’s not common, but it’s beautiful.”

Clem Snide is Eef Barzelay (guitar, vocals), Brendan Fitzpatrick (bass) and Ben Martin (drums)


I’m a fan of alternative country music and am more than happy to have become aquainted with Clem Snide through this very beautiful and moving album. The first thing that struck me with opening track ‘Roger Ebert’ was the calm and intimate vocal tones of Barzelay, backed by the song’s simple, sparse instrumental arrangement earthed by a gentle percussive rhythm. Lyrically, Barzelay keeps it simple and direct:

And he looked so peaceful
he looked ever young
accepting his moment that
soon would be done
he wrote a note that he
passed to his wife
as he felt himself shedding
the skin of his life

Seldom does one find lyrics as real, moving and poetic as this…’Don’t Bring No Ladder’ is a more uptempo song that really bounds along and despite its topic of death sounds optimistic. There’s another set of wonderful lyrics, expressive, youthful vocal and strong melody.

And if you bury me naked
and if you bury me deep
believe from the darkness
something will emerge
we are forever on the verge of
some hard truth

The quality of song-writing, emotional performances, beautifuly judged instrumental arrangements and production are sustained throughout this intimate and accessible album. I couldn’t in all honesty pick a favourite track but the gently observed ‘Forever Just Beyond’ is one of several. Towards the end of the record ‘The Ballad Of Eef Barzelay’ where the narrative vocal is accompanied by a lone guitar and arguably the most expressive vocal here. The lyrics leaves one in a heightened emotional state:

Once when I was young I even
dared to think I could take my own
life if I chose
but every time I pressed upon that thought
my mind would empty out and body froze

The penultimate track is called ‘Denial’ and is a superb marriage between Barzelay’s fragile vocal (this time in more country mode) and guitar. It houses a very strong melody and another gorgious lyric with brief snatches of violin adding to the drama:

At the dawn of delusion
my mind is finally arrived
at the death of a father
a son has finally come to life

A more emotive and beautiful album I cannot imagine being released in this dreadful 2020. In fact considering these fateful coronavirus days, this album could provide some comfort…Any fan of alt-country will love this album, as I do.



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