The description of a musical group as a shaggy-haired quartet from California will inevitably, if only out of habit and preconditioning, lead you to believe its sound is all sunshine and beaches, rhythm guitar and surfboards, blonde-haired beauties and those comically small 1960’s drum kits that seem fit for only a small child to erratically bang on. In the case of the Clipd Beaks the connotations are wrong and, from what I can tell, the drum kit seems to be normal sized.
The sounds from the band’s sophomore album To Realize, a follow up to 2007’s Hoarse Lords, are much more elephant grey, cold drizzle while brooding on a stump of driftwood than fun in the sun. The sweeping noise and distortion that comes to define the record has a way of sneaking in on some tracks such as “Strangler” and “Blood,” while the arrival is much more pronounced on “Atoms and Dust” where the drums announce the start to a new song with a punk-rock assertiveness. Vocals are used sparingly and are stretched to an almost instrumental length adding to the overall noise feel of the entire work.
One thing that is immediately clear is that the disc is lengthy with six of the eleven tracks clocking in at over five minutes. These moments can leave you edgy for things to move on, but the way most tracks build and build and continue to build with no release feels as though the band is accomplishing exactly what they want: an uncomfortable impatience, a musically induced anxiety of sorts as you wait for something to happen at the peak only to be pushed along to the next song. Yet unlike an unsatisfying sexual experience to which this seems vaguely akin, it is not wholly disappointing. There is a certain rhythm that begins to form with constantly being pulled along and feeling as though this will be the moment everything crescendos. Prepare yourself To Realize presents a Sisyphus-esque journey that can be exhausting.