February 25, 2009

Sex Clark Five

Next to all the various mysterious and difficult-to-explain reasons for liking a certain band, song or album, there's always this one intuitively recognizable feeling that has to be there after listening: for the songs to leave me wanting more.

Sex Clark Five's rather classic album Strum & drum! is definitely one of those records. The longest of the twenty songs clocks in at 2:43 and most are much shorter. Obviously being short alone doesn't make a song great, but for their 1987 debut SC5 managed to record mostly tunes with great melodies and hooks that won't quit. A lot is happening: some surf, beat, jangle, punk et cetera, all mixed together as infectious pop.

Sex Clark Five was a band formed in Huntsville, Alabama in the mid-'80s, at the time of recording this album consisting of singer and songwriter James Butler, guitarist Rick Storey, drummer Trick McKaha and bass player Joy Johnson. Strum & drum! is a collection of infectious and often somewhat politically charged songs, with some not annoying hints of humour mixed in.

After this first jangly pop explosion, things didn't necessarily get much better for the band. The subsequent albums I've heard have their moments, but this is clearly where you want to start.

Does anyone know if they're still going?

Download (Mediafire)
1. Sex Clark Five - The men who don't know ice
2. Sex Clark Five - Alai
3. Sex Clark Five - Valerie


Anonymous said...

The sc5 invented a mindset that virtually defined a specific indie rock niche in the last two decades. Strum and Drum! is a bonafide classic and the follow-up albums are truly almost quite as remarkable.

Prime Student said...

'ballad of sex clark five' is pretty great, 'antedium' not so much, but then they returned with 'crimson panzer' which is rather alright. the strum and drum reissue on beehive is the one everyone needs, 34 tracks, all absolutely genius.

fawkesguy said...

One of the most uncompromising bands ever, sex clark five rule. It is my understanding they're still in business. However underground they remain, sc5 is very relevant.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

They did a couple of Peel sessions, one of which I have locked away on tape, and the other has actually made it onto my computer. I absolutely loved this band, on the strength of these sessions alone, more or less - Netta Grew Up Last Night ("she was a girl only yesterday/ oh, how I wish I'd loved her yesterday") and the one with the line "we sleep together but our dreams don't meet..."

Mitchell said...

Thanks heavens for the Internet. If you weren't able to tune in John Peel on your shortwave before the millennium struck, BBC6 has made the amazing underground Sex Clark Five available to modern ears. The astounding nine songs are playable through the site for the next month.