The Cliks

Dirty King

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Recorded in intermittent moments while on relentless 2008 and 2009 tours, the Cliks' second record, Dirty King, betrays its own piecemeal nature, but does it in a good way, giving the versatile band a chance to show off its many faces. Led by the sexual-grit-and-sawdust-laced vocals of Lucas (once Lilia) Silvieri, the Toronto band deals in late-night-tryst style rock & roll in almost any of the forms that description could conjure up. Dirty King opens on its trademarked note of slinky syncopated sensuality, moving from the bluesy, Pretenders-esque "Haunted" to the fevered, Cramps-like gin-joint reverie of the title track. The Cliks can switch easily from channeling Concrete Blonde (with a touch of U2's spiraling, arching guitars) on "Not Your Boy" to mid-career Beatles on "Red and Blue" to Gwen Stefani mixing it up with the Buzzcocks on "Henry." It's all delivered through some nifty production that strikes a balanced pose between down-and-dirty unpredictability and bright and clean pop. Dirty King is a smart, sexy clarion call to be taken seriously by a rock foursome who deserve to be noted for more than their lead singer's gender-bend.

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