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Album Review: Burden Piece by CLIQUE

Melodic indie rock / emo band CLIQUE release their second album Burden Piece on 27th May via Topshelf Records. In many ways CLIQUE are your archetypical American emo band – the lyrics are dark and brooding, the guitars jangly but with enough post hardcore power and there’s some succulent hooks. Burden Piece doesn’t break the mould, but it’s solid and enjoyable.

Hailing from Philadelphia and formed out of the ashes of Girl Scouts, The Hundred Acre Woods and Ted Nguyent there’s influences from the former bands throughout Burden Piece. It adds a little spice, making certain songs like the powerful and layered ‘Wishful Thinking’ and intricate ‘Separate’ stand out as more than just your average emo tracks. It’s at these moments that you feel CLIQUE could be something special, unfortunately the rest of the album doesn’t follow suit.

When the majority of the tracks on an album fall under (or just barely break) the two minute mark, then they have to pack a punch and make you take notice. Apart from the first four tracks you’d be forgiven for instantly forgetting much of the rest. Opener ‘Worth’ and ‘Top Field’ set an early high bar that the album rarely meets, the former has some delightful vocal work while the later has a brilliant emo riff and hook that many of CLIQUE’s contemporaries desperately aim for. ‘Mess’ takes on the existential crises of a twenty-something before ‘Usage’ is the album’s standout track with blustering guitars and the cry of “No I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with me” you’ll find yourself singing along before it seemingly disappears before it gets started.

‘Boundaries’ comes very close to being an excellent track but you feel that the band don’t give it chance to develop and again it’s over before it’s really started. Sometimes that can be the main problem of a self-produced album, you don’t have an outside influence to push you or to help tracks evolve. Generally the album is far too short, it doesn’t give you chance to get invested. Yet conversely you’ll find some of the longer tracks like ‘Athlet’ and ‘Mutual’ outstaying their welcome. It is as if CLIQUE have pushed the weaker tracks and left the good ones in some kind of limbo.

Even with the bad points you’ll find it hard to dislike Burden Piece. You won’t love it, but it’s inoffensive and just about interesting enough for it to be enjoyable. It’ll fade into the background while raising a little smile of satisfaction.

AD Rating 6/10

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