The four-piece from Liverpool Mike Halls, Evelyn Halls, Saul Godman and Ross Higginson arrive at a time when even the most optimistic, glass-half-full sort of person has started to fear that pop as a currency, as a conduit for emotion, truth, complexity and daring, has been cheapened to the point of no return. Sure, Clean Cut Kids songs possess the whip-smart immediacy of classic radio pop; but there is something much deeper going on in there too. And thats the point: why settle for a quick-fix first draft, they argue, for the speediest, least troublesome route to a self-congratulatory pat on the back when craft, hard graft, and sheer dogged, cussed bloody-mindedness and persistence can lead you to results that leap clear of the average and workaday?
Clean Cut Kid are doing what theyve always done. Shoulders to the wheel, working round the clock in their Liverpool rehearsal space, catching some sleep when they can. Firing out new songs on an almost daily basis. Routing guitars and keyboards through piggybacked effects pedals and ancient, overloaded amps to the point, laughs Mike, where you think theyre going to explode. Forever hunting down the right sound for a particular moment in a certain song. Evelyn even confesses that their debut single, 'Vitamin C', features the sound of a teacup being hit by one of us.
If the other three come across as driven by the need to make music, Mike seems possessed by it. Thats been the case, he says, for as long as he can remember;
As a kid, music felt like my own little world, which Id retreat into. I used to wear out cassettes on my Walkman, the Beatles 'Blue' and 'Red' albums, Michael Jacksons 'Dangerous'; Id play them to death. I can remember cycling along with stabilisers on, listening to the Walkman, and my parents keeping an eye out so I didnt steer the bike off the kerb, because I couldnt hear the traffic.
Later, in his teens, Mike was given a battered acoustic guitar by his dad. It only had three strings on it, he laughs, but I was away.
This childhood immersion led Mike on a quest to search out the honest stuff in the music Clean Cut Kid make. Influenced by artists whose hooks and melodies lodge at once in your brain, yet whose textures thrum with an audacious experimentalism that, on paper, should have no place in a pop song. This influence is demonstrated in the crunch and staccato attack of the guitar on 'Vitamin C', the brutal force and crisp economy of Saul and Rosss Prefab Sprout-like rhythm section, Mike and Evelyns dovetailing harmonies and the universally identifiable sentiment of the lyrics.
Artist Page - Universal UK