After gaining national attention with two EPs and a full length debut on a small French label, The Cloverseeds signed with one of the leading U.S. prog rock labels, The Laser’s Edge, for The Opening. Showcasing elaborate melodies, heavy music and a touch of eccentricity, they earn their spot next to stellar contemporaries. It’s not perfect, and they have a lot to learn, but the potential is there.
The quintet formed in 2004 and claims to “…aim for your heart as well as your head…” like colleagues Porcupine Tree, Riverside, and Anathema. Actually, and especially with the expressiveness of vocalist Ced Olèon, the band has more in common with newer (ie. more alt rock-esque) Pain of Salvation than any of those three. While the Cloverseeds aren’t on the same level as these other bands, they also haven’t been around as long, and with a second album as good as The Opening, there’s no reason to think they won’t grow substantially with subsequent releases.
“Over Camellia” starts the album like a more intricate and dynamically sung Alice in Chains track. Olèon transverses octaves as he harmonizes with himself, remarkably sounding like Daniel Gildenlöw at times. The band plays standard genre guitar arpeggios and syncopation, so it’s really nothing too new, but it’s still worthwhile. “Fam(L)Ar” is slower and more ominous with its gongs and predatory melody. It builds nicely from a shy imploring to passionate outcry.
The marching band drumming and puzzled arrangement of “Brand New Day” easily make it a standout track. Elements are stacked as the track progresses, resulting in quite a frantic bit before it slows down for the climax. “Calling Me Down” features more interlocking guitar lines and some interesting rhythms, and as the ballad of the album (I suppose), it’s still pretty heavy. The way the vocals complement the music is quite engaging.
“The Opening” shifts tone expertly, allowing for interspersed calmness and aggression. It’s a track to drum along to on your desk or steering wheel. The Opening concludes with “Enough,” which is certainly the most heartfelt and beautiful entry, and probably features the best songwriting too. It leaves a substantial feeling of affect and urgency on the listener, still holding a presence in its aftermath.
For a sophomore release, The Opening is quite impressive. However, in the grand scheme of today’s progressive rock giants (and even just on the Laser’s Edge roster), the Cloverseeds, perhaps fittingly, feel like a little brother hoping to fit in with the big boys. They aren’t on par with the best of the best yet, but they could be with more diversity and stronger songwriting, which is definitely a foreseeable possibility.