Under Review

Cliffie Swan

Memories Come True (Drag City)

by Nathan Pike


Cliffie Swan- So Long

Though this is Cliffie Swan’s debut disc, this is actually the third album from Brooklyn-based singer/guitarist Sophia Knapp and drummer Linnea Vedder. They were previously known as Lights, before band name legalities got in the way. But whereas Lights flirted with bubblegum and electronic pop on their two releases, Cliffie Swan’s Memories Come True lovingly embraces the simpler sounds of the ’70s and ’80s. There are times when I’m almost convinced that I am listening to a lost Heart album with guest appearances from Fleetwood Mac, The Pretenders and Led Zepplin.

It’s clear that these gals have their influences pinned to their sleeves and they pull off a sound that is respectable and maybe even a little daring. But aside from the influence and sound that gives this album weight there is also a slightly more modern take that snakes its way throughout. Sludgy guitar and psychedelic swirlings of feedback and reverb give tracks like “California Baby” an almost Pod-era Breeders bent while “Home” sounds almost as if the band is channeling Melvins at an ambient moment in a tribal sounding requiem.

Those who grew up on music of this bygone era will find a lot to enjoy here and will likely do double-takes on a few of these tracks. I’d call this easy music with big hopes and a testament to the fact that simpler is sometimes better.