Since releasing 2012’s Wherever Your Place May Be, Texas’s Cleanup have lost a member but cleaned up, as it were. Their debut album Sun Life focuses brilliantly on a few elements. Most notably, their upbeat, layered, and almost poppy vocals have been brought to the foreground, in doing so creating a series of frantically technical but paradoxically relaxing songs that will appeal beyond the math-rock cohort.
The vocals aren’t what grip you from the start, though. That would be their rhythmic, madly danceable, almost Caribbean riffs through an octave pedal that remind you of And So I Watch You From Afar’s All Hail Bright Futures and the latest from Bearcubbin’!. Then there’s the tapping, most beautiful during the interlude ‘Jim, Son of Jim’, a 3-minute ethereal soundscape with layered horns.
Sun Life is striking because of the way it seamlessly blends these two sides: frantic, time-signature shifting and never predictable on the one hand; and calm, smooth and collected on the other. TTNG have done it one way, and now Cleanup are doing it theirs.
Progressive, math rock, vocals, folk, angularity, indie, pop
Sounds A Tad Like
ASIWYFA, TTNG, These Paper Satellites, The Most Serene Republic
$6 (Holy Hell Records Bandcamp)