With 2020 marking a decade into their musical careers The Dirty Clergy vacillates between shoegaze-esque ruminations on love and struggle and more straightforward garage numbers that surge into ecstatic cacophony all accented by eerily laconic vocals, Alabama's The Dirty Clergy (featuring vocalist/guitarist Brian Manasco, bassist Ky Carter and drummer Cody Moorehead) are looking to expand their already respectable discography with their upcoming full-length, the aptly titled In Waves.
The 12-song collection represents the band's second collaboration with producer Les Nuby (Verbena, Holiday Gunfire and co-owner of Ol' Elegante Studio in Birmingham), who had engineered the Clergy's previous album, 2016's Rattlesnake, a release which would go on to be nominated for "Indie/Alt Album of the Year' at the 2016 Independent Music Awards, get played on LA's legendary KROQ station and Alice Cooper's Nights with Alice Cooper, receive multiple accolades from AL.com and land the band two placements for the songs “Decades” and “Strange Love” on the tenth season of SHOWTIME's Shameless.
After having a couple of other singers in the tenure of the band, founder Manasco uses this latest record to give his own voice to the lyrics and melodies that he has crafted.
"Everything was different because we had a different lineup," Manasco recalls. "I wrote all of the new songs and when we started rehearsals, the former singer had wanted to rewrite the lyrics. But we had already recorded all of the music. I was then talking to Anton Newcombe from The Brian Jonestown Massacre and he said 'tell that dude to hit the road.' And Les was aware of all this stuff. I had to go back and redo all of the songs in terms of tempo and key to accommodate a new singer. I was not planning on singing the songs myself, but ultimately I didn't have a choice."
"That's what the band wanted from the start," Manasco continues. "They wanted me to sing from the beginning. Everything sputtered a bit at first, but I knew the sound I was trying to achieve once started singing because it was something I always wanted to do."
These sudden rearrangements helped the Dirty Clergy develop a record that sounds truly unique. Beginning with the fuzz and percussion-drenched introduction of opening track and first single "Trials", the Dirty Clergy immediately draw in the listener for an emotional and visceral journey of an album. One of the standout tracks in the album's first half ("Young Lovers" featuring guest vocals from Cameron Lane) brings the trio's instrumentation into true focus with a lengthy section of hard-hitting drums, throbbing bass and an iconic guitar solo which seamlessly reconvenes with an excellent interplay between the singers. The synth-heavy and dreamlike "Homesick" focuses on the prevalence of school violence in today's society.
"The shooting at Parkland High School is one that I really focused on for that song," Manasco said. "I was just trying to put myself in their shoes. We recorded it a few months after it occurred."
Songs like "Wonderland", "West Coast" and "Whiplash" continue to build on the band's sonic evolution. Even though the band hails from the small town of Winfield, AL, the tunes do not really contain any indication of the music that one might expect from the state, instead exuding a vibe in line with some of the experimental indie rock found in the epicenters of both US coasts.
Despite the title of the record's last track "Too Good to Last", the Dirty Clergy are here to stay with a collection of tracks that will linger in your mind long after the final note.
The Dirty Clergy will release In Waves on digital platforms and CD on 5-22-2020 as one of the newest signings of Birmingham's Cornelius Chapel Records.