Allen Clapp

Six Seasons

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If someone was looking for one word to describe Allen Clapp, a pretty good choice would be "craftsman." He started out recording indie pop gems on a four-track recorder in the early '90s, and went on to make lush tracks, both solo and with his group the Orange Peels, in his well-appointed home studio here on the six-song 2016 EP Six Seasons. Everything Clapp has done has sounded like the work of someone who knew exactly what he was doing at all times. Songwriting, playing, singing, engineering, mixing -- he can do it all at a level most people can only dream about. During a break between Orange Peels records, Clapp used his downtime to make a typically verdant and insightful record. Delving behind the facade of social media to get to the core of how people relate, he tied his thoughts to the changing seasons and brought in lots of cool keyboards to add color to the arrangements. The songs are super catchy as usual, the sound of the album is rich and fully realized, and the synths help to bring out the big emotions Clapp is dealing with. It's a nice little record, full of songs Clapp will be glad to add to his résumé (especially the '80s guitar pop-inspired "Moss Falls Like Rain"), and it shows the auteur exploring new territory (synth-driven instrumentals) with his usual sure-handedness. Both "Seasons 5 & 6 (Part One)" and "Seasons 5 & 6 (Part Two)" are evocative enough to give the Stranger Things crew something to think about. If S U R V I V E ever fell down a well, the producers of the show would be wise to give Clapp a call. In a career filled with one overlooked great album after another, the Six Seasons EP is a nice little reminder that Allen Clapp is doing some very impressive work far below the radar.

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