At times a driving rock record, other times a cabaret crooner, and yet still an accessible pop album, The Cliks’ Dirty King flaunts its ever shifting personality — and it works, for the most part.
The title track, which rolls in on a wave of surf guitar, is the centerpiece of the Canadian trio’s sophomore effort. When the soaring and androgynous vocals of Lucas Silveira roar in over top of the irresistible guitar riff, the song shifts around corners that blend garage and classic rock and even touch base in Marilyn Manson territory.
When the band lets its rock ‘n’ roll flags fly they do so without abandon. Even when they reel the rock in and slow the pace to a ballad that would make The Bangles envious (“Red and Blue”), their sincerity keeps the mood from dipping too far down. The music here is so good, at times, that you may miss the telling lyrics: “I could your boyfriend” from “Dirty King,” and “I’m not your boy” from “Not Your Boy.”
It’s a bit unavoidable to point out, when talking about The Cliks, that the tortured and sexy singer/guitarist happens to be a transgendered female to male. Chew on that little tidbit while ingesting the haunted and evocative rock riffs and this already interesting album takes on a whole new meaning.
While interesting, Dirty King is far from a masterpiece and could stand to lose a few of the cheesier tracks. “We Are the Wolverines” wastes a perfectly good melody and rhythm track on a pointless pep rally of a song, and the k.d. Lang ballad “Emily” is entirely skippable. Omit the pair and you’ve still got nine songs ready to heat up the stereo.
The Cliks: www.thecliks.com