Cloves is a singer-songwriter with something magical up her sleeve.
The track ‘Better Now’ opens with a simple acoustic melody, topped with her emotive vocals. The loose half-rhyme of ‘happy’ and ‘just for a moment I’m free’ lure us into what seems a folk-tinged reflection on self-identity and a relationship. A character who is ‘better now?’
A sudden shatter of drums says otherwise. Initially we’ve been allured into a false sense of security – like people who ‘pretend’ that things are okay – but now are plunged into the real and raw. With the repeated refrain of ‘Woo hoo’ and a burst of guitar and drums; this recurs through the song like persistent bursts of energy, a burning desire in the gut to give an old lover a mouthful of what they deserve. Guitar and backing vocals get in on the action too.
Surprisingly angry, lines like ‘I love a fight’, accompanied by a rising drumbeat suggest that the rhythms of life can complicate relationships – for what starts out as such a simple melody becomes magnificent in its shattering sound. Cloves’ vocal skill nails it; never have I heard a voice occupy the word ‘doubt’ in such an evocative way; her voice reverberates from every vowel in a way which makes the listener feel both the emptiness and the anger as love becomes twisted. The charm of GoldFrapp combined with Kim Gordon’s capacity for expression, and then some.
How this track shifted really did surprise me, but in an inspiring kind of way. Beauty and bitterness bleed together. True of love, and very much true of this track too.
‘Better Now’ preempts the release of Cloves’ debut album due in 2017. Cloves will headline her first London show on Thursday 9th Feb at Omeara. Tickets are available now here.