Clatter are a great rock duo of Bass and Drums yet the Bass is always delivered in a way that drives the melody and fills the space that guitars usually fill. Opener “Tree of Secrets” from where the title reference comes from showcases how the duo work. The bass if amped up to fill like it’s pushing out all kinds of rhythms and melodies through its constant chugging. Occasionally things are overlaid too. Amy’s vocals are often duelling to fill up more space and then there’s Joe’s arms of a thousand bashing out all kinds of crazy drum loops, percussive splashes and Shenanigans! The track is instantly infectious and sets you up for a tour de force. “Strawberry Park” has a great percussive ride over the riff rock. Clatter have a great way of delivering choruses that soar and verses that really chug or vice versa and this is an ideal example of this. There’s also some excellent percussion choices with a tuned percussion solo – easily one of the highlights on the album!
“Downstream” pushes onto the mosh out side of Clatter. Pure badass bass riffs and tom drums to the heavens! This is a song made to head bang to! “March of Flames” is a more of a stadium rock number with plugging riffs that grow and grow. “Glowing” is the first song where the bass actually sounds like a bass! It’s also the first time Clatter take a vague breather and slow down for Amy to enchant us with her range of vocals. The track has some great tempo and time signature changes and genuinely sounds very fresh and unique. It’s like a song floated in from 1970 with a 2012 band and landed on your shoulder.
“Invisible” showcases the interplay between bass and percussion as they swap up riffs, loops and tweaks every couple of lines. Nothing stays the same in the track and that’s a trait throughout the album but more so here. It feels almost like a natural instinct to bounce off each other and it’s why the music works so well. “Threads” I will call the Metallica song that never was. It has such a euphoria to the riffs and beats I dare anyone to not want to at least nod their head to this track. The percussion especially shines here.
“Powerful” is a sublime track. I’m not sure if keyboards are brought in or if there’s multi-layering of the bass but this track has such an electronica vibe all over it with its darkened tones and grizzly power chords under the main melody. It’s a new twist on their sound and its a wonderfully welcome one. Single in waiting. “Trance” again continues down this multi-layering path to a more psychedelia edge with lots of fuzzed out discordant high note bass sounds that feel like they are looping on a stuck cassette. Amy’s vocals perfect the sound – something which doesn’t take you on first listen because she sits so neatly in the mix but you appreciate the vocals much more in further listens. The closing track “At the Gates Of…” ends the album with a massive display of artistic prowess from bass and drums as the instruments take over and our duo absolutely rock it out to the max. This is their Bohemian Rhapsody and you’ll love every minute of it.
“Garden of Whatever” is exactly what Clatter have threatened to do for a long time. Each iteration of Clatter’s sound has only added, developed and blown me further away. The sheer craft, workmanship and passion behind the music bares through in every note played and sung and every beat in the bar. Easily a serious contender for album of the year and certain to figure in my best of lists. Any rock fan – buy this now.