[16 June 2009]
Indie-folk group Lewis & Clarke’s latest release is a slim EP called Light Time. Music doesn’t change much in this genre, but then it doesn’t have to for it to keep enthralling us with its gentle, wounded ache. Lou Rogai continues to impress as the band’s mastermind and singer, his plaintive and modest instrument a welcome addition to the ranks of underappreciated and talented musicians performing without much expectation of fame/fortune. Despite this, “Petrified Forest”, the lead track, should by rights get both—it’ll come close to taking your breath away. The song’s patience is its strength—it lets acoustic guitar strings, now plucked, ring for a half-second before moving to the next figure; it observes the devastation of an abandoned town, “the factory slow-dance”, “mothers on treadmills”; it is desolate and affecting. The other notable track here is a pretty cover of the Leonard Cohen classic “Chelsea Hotel #2”, still shocking lyrically after all these years, and treated with utmost respect by Rogai & co. Even if Lewis & Clarke can’t write albums-full of “Petrified Forest”s, this one’ll become a precious gift to those who hear it.