Released: 6th April 2009.
A star in the Netherlands, Clark has had a handful of hit singles there from his debut double platinum album, â��Live It Outâ�� and is now hoping his unique style of mellow, motown inspired soul will capture the attention of the UK.
The LP opens with â��Blow Me Awayâ�� - a funk-fest which is helped along with impressive percussion and bass - a real instrument laden track which sees Clark lay down vocals which are both coarse and soulful at the same time. Although one has to give props to Clark for staying true to his motown inspired roots, the track isn't one to stay in your mind - and doesn't exactly blow you away on first listen. On to the next track then I suppose....
Oh my, it seems Jack Johnson and James Morrison have had some sort of child and called it Alain. No bad thing I suppose, but â��This Aint Gonna Workâ�� sounds all too familiar and taps into an already saturated market. â��Father & Friendâ�� is a nice enough ballad which sees impressive vocals from Clark and the playfulness of the lyrics and melody along with his father (who contributes to this) is a nice touch. Ideal for sipping Pimms on a summerâ��s afternoon. Nice.
â��Hold Onâ�� sounds like a Curtis Mayfield tune. Fantastic. The track is taken straight out of the 60's - an upbeat ditty and you will easily find your feet tapping along and your mouth whistling too. One of the standout tracks on the album.
Next up, â��Fell In Loveâ��, which sounds oh so miserable. Clarkâ��s vocals can be compared to those of moody artist Citizen Cope's - drab, sultry, a bit boring and easily skippable in my opinion.
â��Go Thereâ�� and â��I Donâ��t Wanna Change The Worldâ�� can be summed up together because they sound so familiar. Bouncy little numbers, again, great percussion throughout, and 60's sounding vocals makes a pleasurable listen.
â��Live It Outâ�� is another mid tempo ballad-esque song, with a bit more guitar than any other track on the album. The horns during the chorus along with the fantastic drums leaves an impression on the listener - definitely one of the better tracks on this LP - light and very easy on the ear. Smooth FM would eat this up!
The rest of the album slides down a very slippery slope as Clark seems to recycle his previous offerings and wilt, if you will. â��All You Gotta Changeâ�� is an awful, sloppy ballad which bored me to tears. â��I Need Youâ�� and â��Sheâ��s The Oneâ�� seem to just...well...be. There's nothing magic about them, and Clarks vocals don't leave you wanting more in the slightest. I found these last 3 tracks very easy to skip. I'm glad I did.
To sum up, this isn't a 'bad' album at all, but it's not a great one either. At times, Clark shows promising glimpses of modern, yet slightly retro soul which makes me smile. His passion for motown and soul in general is visible on tracks such as 'Hold On' and 'Live It Out' and his talent for songwriting comes across on 'Father & Friend', but unfortunately, there's not much else on this album to convince me that I should go out and buy his work or see him live. Perfect for easy listening music at a summer dinner party, or at times, a wake!
Due to his success in the Netherlands, I'm sure we'll see a follow-up at some point, and hopefully it'll be a bit more polished and individual. Until then, I'd rather listen to real Motown.