At first glance, the name “Cautious Clay” might seem like it hews a little close to the birth name of the greatest of all time. Perhaps that’s purposeful. But the name that Josh Karpeh records under just might destine him for all-time status.
Blood Type is an audacious, beautiful blip of a record - and with a 20-minute run time, it sinks in as fast as it comes at you. The record begins with “Silos”, an airy prelude cherry-topped with Clay’s falsetto. Drum machines click into place, and the song settles into a breezy groove. Just as you settle in, it disappears. Then you wake up in “Joshua Tree”. It’s got a pulsating, drippy intro before taking off into a soaring chorus. It’s apparent very quickly that he has an innate ability to find quiet spaces and blow them up into huge moments.
The record’s most intriguing moment comes with its title track. That slow, drippy synth sound returns, but instead of a completely ascendant hook, it’s more of a reflective song about struggling to keep it together in love. The song continues to bubble towards its conclusion. Ultimately, it signals for another “Stolen Moments”, an ethereal, acoustic guitar picked ballad. “Juliet & Caesar” continues this train all the way through to the record’s final track, “Elsewhere”.
Honestly, Blood Type is a record perfect of its time. It’s packed with ambition and heart, experimentation and hints of what came before it. But it does this in a way that really hasn’t been attempted. It’s concise. The songs don’t stick long enough to lose interest - in fact, it’s almost fun to go back and replay what you’ve liked. In an era full of excess and so much “muchness”, it’s a breath of fresh air for an artist like Cautious Clay to reign it and focus his talent for the strength of the material. A lot of people trying to make a splash don’t always know how to do that. He does, and that will keep him as someone to keep your ears tuned to for years to come.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media
This review was written by Brendan Hilliard, of Obviate Media. Obviate Media is a Chicago-based blog covering music and pop culture. Check them out, here: Obviate Media.