Reuben Hollebon’s Clutch

Some people manage to hit the nail right on the head and get you in the right place at the right time. As with all wonders, sometimes you tend to be looking elsewhere and miss them, and what you need are playful shoves or friendly reminders that if you pass up this opportunity, it’ll most possibly make you miss out on something great. I had that last December in a month of disillusionment where the gentle songwriting of Norfolk-born Reuben Hollebon caught me by surprise, and that reminder came when his music video for Clutch was released earlier this month, following the release of his debut on London’s Akira Records.

Breaking Plastic, the first track from Reuben’s EP, has a certain light-heartedness in it that is nowhere else to be found in the rest of the Clutch EP, like a brilliant, shiny light guiding your way through darkness with those glittery, layered choruses almost leading you into a trap. From track 2 (Seven) on, Hollebon’s voice quivers and shivers similarly to folk-darling and fellow Englishman Keaton Henson, accompanied by a guitar and desperate, delicate lyrics. Reuben HollebonAt times there are voices or confused whispers in the background, possible ghosts, like in the rhythm-driven Skin Addict, where the refrain “get out of my head, get out of my bed” almost exhausts the listener’s heart. It doesn’t sound any less heavy remixed, but rather takes on a drone-like quality that leaves your ears buzzing in the same way a loud, front-row concert at a shabby venue would if you’d forgotten your earplugs. In comparison to the rest, Home is almost a country,  rock-n-roll song – appearing out of nowhere, it is an unexpected release with sweat and raised eyebrows, somewhat also echoing the strange psychedelia of the 70s and ending in a quiet cacophony. The moans of Home find their counterpart in the following tracks Holy and On Faith – like a Jeff Buckley or a Damien Rice of sorts, finding its power in fragility, Reuben lets his husky voice guide the melody in a muttered, incomprehensible hum, all the while trying to keep up with a piano gone wild. At last, after a moment of silence, comes the title track Clutch, similar to an awakening on a frosty morning: all cold bed sheets and desolate landscapes, white curtains and grey daylight, and like all ethereal moments between sleep and wakefulness, ending way too soon.

I can see it in the air
I can see it everywhere
We were going to lose
I can feel it when we wake
I can see it all the day
We were going to lose


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