One of Melbourne’s brightest up and comers Clove have dropped their new single “Sober”; an overpowering journey through emotional turmoil and anguish. The alt-rock/punk five piece captured my own heart through their live performances with Stuck Out and Better Half, and now they’re going to steal so many more through this beautifully powerful song.
Atmospheric and grey, gloomy guitar strums glide through your ears. Rain pours outside and dark clouds cover the sky. Everything is grim, and as more bad news piles on the rest, it’s impossible to see through the grey. Weary vocals leak suffering, and echo a feeling of overwhelming anxiety. Weighed down by uncertainty, the pace of the song stays slow, matching the lacklustre and lifeless attitude, and helplessness of the lyrics. Stuck in a sense of numbness and watching the world go by, they drift away.
Relief finally comes when everything is at its bleakest, with a roaring rocking guitar solo ripping through and letting loose everything stored within. The tempo raises, cymbals get smashed, and passion and anger is unleashed. Everything finally feels real, and this seeming nightmare becomes reality. Properly grabbing hold of an emotion and allowing themselves to feel something, the pain takes over and explodes with the music. Screeching guitars ring through the background, and the solidarity that comes with a proper sense of feeling ends the song on a relaxed yet regretful feeling of sadness. “Sober” truly takes you on a journey.
“Grip me til I’m older, I want to feel this sober.”
When discussing the lyrical content of “Sober”, and the rough times that led to it being written, vocalist Mark Jamieson said “It straight away felt like it was going to be a song with a certain vibe, and it was at a time when I found out my mum was sick with cancer. She’s fine now, which is good, but at that point it was a mess of the feelings of finding out, and feeling a bit distant from people. A lot of internal reflective thoughts, a lot of confusion, and a lot of sifting through what I was feeling at the time. There was also a sense of guilt about not feeling certain things, like I was probably more in shock and floating than I was upset or angry or scared, but I knew my family felt that way and I wanted to feel that way, and I didn’t know why I didn’t.”
Mark channeled his internal experience into “Sober”, sharing that “It mimics cyclical thought patterns, just going over things in your head repeatedly, and it reaching a peak when you make yourself feel worse. You dig yourself into a deeper hole in a way.” That feeling of hitting the peak of emotion is represented through the massive climax of the song, what with the dreamlike guitars and the overpowering anger seemingly bursting out of the band.
Going into the process of instrumentally creating “Sober”, guitarist Luke Petherick describes a ‘rare’ moment, where the lead guitar line virtually wrote itself, “Ben [Hyland, Clove’s drummer] had the main rhythm already done, with drums and all, we then put it together with the end section he had also written parts of, where he had this big extended riff involving all the same chords repeating. We came out of that with the climax section of the song, and straight away I could hear the lead line over it. Pretty much from the first time I heard it I thought “I know exactly what I’m going to do there”, which is pretty rare musically, particularly for me.”
Clove were keen for bassist Jared Chappell to put his own spin on the process, and he exceeded expectations. Luke says “Some of the bass fills he does towards the end of the song we remember watching him play for the first time and being like “Oh wow, we haven’t had this before. This is great”.” Jared also supplies backing vocals in the track, quietly adding his own harmonies throughout the verses and choruses and keeping everything afloat. “They play off really well and add a whole new dimension that push the song forward.”
Clearly “Sober” touches on some personal and emotionally tough content. Luke reinforces this in sharing that the band didn’t take the recording process lightly. “It wasn’t something we could just go in and smash out as a band.” They clearly worked hard to make sure they had the right guitar tones to match the required mood of the track, saying “I think on the overall track we may have used 6 or 7 different guitars all up.”
Despite the emotionally gruelling experience, Clove still got to have some fun in the making of “Sober”, with Luke happily diving into the aforementioned guitar line, saying “I finally got to rip a solo in the end! It’s got a real Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin tone to it, which I froth.”
Check out “Sober” via YouTube below. Also, word on the street is that a launch show for “Sober” is close to being announced, so keep your eyes peeled.