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Clues won me over immediately with its amazing first three tracks. “Haarp” demonstrates the Montreal group’s incredible attention to detail and subtlety. The range of tempo and dynamics on the three-minute tune span the spectrum, starting with minuscule phrases busting into noisy fermatas that in some small way remind me of early `90s Flaming Lips. When we finally get a beat, we hear first a slower quiet segment and then a toe-tapping section full of dirty guitars to finish the song. “Remember Severed Head” asks "Who here wants to sleep in the dragon’s mouth? / Who here wants to feel?," beginning the album’s obsession with medieval imagery but then mentions something about “a mushroom cloud tattoo.” The band grooves along with a catchy-yet-minor ‘doot-doot-doot’ vocal line doubled in the guitar, high-stepping electric piano intervals and alternates between string-cloaked softer segments and chaotic moments of crashing ride cymbals. “Approach the Throne” starts with clanging percussion and another minor-pop ‘la la la’ melody, which is later thickened up by some brass. The chorus breaks down with horn chords as Reed digs into that china cymbal.
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