CLEM SNIDE – ” Forever Just Beyond ” Album Of the Week

Posted: July 19, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , ,

Produced by The Avett Brothers’ Scott Avett (and featuring him throughout), Clem Snide’s recently released album “Forever Just Beyond” follows a tumultuous season of life for singer/songwriter Eef Barzelay. His marriage, money and band all fell apart within a matter of years, and he turned around and channelled his anguish into an album of thoroughly thoughtful, beautiful and imaginative indie-folk songs. On “Roger Ebert,” Barzelay ponders the film critic’s “dying words,” allowing his metaphor to take a much larger shape. “There is a vastness that can’t

“By pure coincidence, “Forever Just Beyond” came out when it could potentially have the strongest impact. Let’s be honest, with the (COVID-19) virus working its way across the globe so many of us are thinking about mortality in clear and present terms. It was always in this album’s DNA that it would address death without dwelling on it and life without pretending it’s perpetual.”

“There have been many iterations of Clem Snide over the years but by now it’s turned into a personal alias for Eef Barzelay. “Forever Just Beyond” shows him and his current ensemble at their most quietly devastating.” “The last ten years have been a rollercoaster of deep despair and amazing opportunities that somehow present themselves at the last possible second,” says Eef Barzelay. “That this record even exists, as far as I’m concerned, is a genuine miracle.”

Indeed, the road to Forever Just Beyond, Barzelay’s stunning new album under the Clem Snide moniker, was an unlikely one, to say the least. Produced by Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers, the record is a work of exquisite beauty and profound questioning, a reckoning with faith and reality that rushes headlong into the unknown and the unknowable. The songs here grapple with hope and depression, identity and perception, God and the afterlife, all captured through Barzelay’s uniquely off-kilter lens and rendered with an intimate, understated air that suggests the tender comfort of a late-night conversation between old friends.

Avett’s production is similarly warm and inviting, and the careful, spacious arrangement of gentle guitars and spare percussion carves a wide path for Barzelay’s insightful lyrics and idiosyncratic delivery. Listening to the album now, Avett and Barzelay sound like an obvious pairing, but the truth is that there was nothing obvious about the survival of Clem Snide, and the series of cosmic coincidences that led to Forever Just Beyond remains inexplicable even to Barzelay himself.

There’s levelheaded maturity and even acceptance of our collective fate that songwriter Eef Barzelay, who could be a bit of a goof on earlier albums, seems to have gained over the five years since his last Clem Snide LP. Indeed, these were hard years, defined by crises: Barzelay’s marriage floundered; the songwriter faced bankruptcy, On the Scott Avett-produced Forever Just Beyond, Barzelay is a gentle indie-folk philosopher that will share a couch with us and talk hard existential talks with patience, gravity, humour, and grace

Clem Snide from ‘Forever Just Beyond’ (2020, Ramseur Records) produced by Scott Avett.


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