Clickits: Express Gifts

The recent Let Your Heart Draw A Line found The Remote Viewer crafting ten somnambulant lullabies, an approach the group seemingly carries over to releases on its Moteer label, like last year's Songs By The Sea by The Boats and now Express Gifts. Clickits' reticence extends not only to its music but to the amount of background detail available: the two members' names ('Johnny and John') and places of residence (Alsager and Melbourne) are pretty much all one can determine. Clickits nurtures an understated ambiance throughout its 36-minute debut Express Gifts, with a heavy emphasis on dense, hazy atmospheres of soft clicks and crackle. A subtle strain of hip-hop permeates the songs' downtempo beats with repetition used to cultivate an hypnotic, trance-like feel.

The album begins unassumingly with “Aramaic,” a lulling overture of wavering tones and distant washes, with the group convincingly mimicking the experience of sounds infiltrating an awakening consciousness. That understated quality reappears in the darker “Wheneveryouready,” the lilting “Natural Theatre,” and the gloomy waltz “…For Sure, I'll Be Buried At Sea” whose clattering beats resemble chains being dragged along a dock. Certainly there are memorable moments—a dub bass line gives a welcome kick to the squelchy clicks of “In My Field of View” while a distinctive Oriental feel enhances “Brttle”—but Express Gifts ultimately registers as rather too restrained. While one appreciates the group's subtle craft, a larger share of aggressive moments would be welcome. It doesn't surprise that the punchiest track, “Lament for the North” with its clicking hip-hop beats and sliced voice patterns, is also the album's best.

July 2005