Album Review – Poets of the Fall – Clearview (2016)

Availability: YouTube (full album stream), Spotify, Mad Supply and EMP

Drama for Life, the first track of the album transmits an intriguing and eye-opening statement, which had also been accompanied by an interview proceeding the album’s release. This traditional rock song is revealing to the fans that Poets of the Fall are leaving the vaudeville world they created over the last decade behind and starting anew, however are not abandoning the theatric storytelling. They are exploring themselves, the purpose to referring to the band as a significant character in their own right. They are turning a fresh chapter, and are creating a new world. However, what I have noticed is that there is a mild connection to their debut album Signs of Life (2003), the album significantly explores self-discovery, and freedom from an oppressive state of living, whilst this song signifies one becoming comfortable with one’s own state of mind, and eccentricity. Though the album was the start of a trilogy, which resumed with Carnival of Rust (2006) and finished with Temple of Thought (2012), there may be a possibility that Clearview is a spiritual sequel to the universe created from that trilogy. The Game within a mellowed soft rock melody reconnoiters the complexity of life and the obligations of society, all the while fighting to seek individuality in amongst what appears to be an inevitably of an expected outcome. Again, there is an acknowledged link to the debut album, and in fact, this song is parallel with that of the song Signs of Life. It features mundane activities that we go through on a day to day basis, all the while wanting to experience life in the midst of existence.

The Child in Me is instrumentally a playful track, deliberately carrying a childlike or care-free air. It combines electronica and alternative rock to explore the worrisome nature of love and attraction. The protagonist is that of someone who cannot romantically settle, trying to desperately find ‘the one’ in an unrestful manner. They are forever envious of those who can find what they seek so skillfully, and wish to have that skill. Once Upon a Playground Rainy takes shape into a mix of acoustic and country rock, and whether intentional or not, briefly goes back to the spoken word/hip-hop style of Choice Millionaire from Jealous Gods (2014). Like the previous track, the theme speaks of a childish mind-set, who is innocently trying seek validation, and battling for their uniqueness, and unable to receive with the world in a narcissistic state.  

Children of the Sun is an acoustic/electronica rock fusion that discovers a hopeful message of seemingly to finally escape the status quo of society and finding their own way. Once more, there is a similarity to their previous album Jealous Gods, which itself contained messages of finding liberty and closure.  Shadow Play is a song speaking of people being required to take responsibility of their own life, using an elevating tone to make the notion a positive memo. Not only does it encourage responsibility, but tells us to take life in our hands and live as if it was our last day, to make the most of what little time we have.

Centre Stage is a track that surprisingly returns to the theatrical alternative rock sound that Poets of the Fall became recognized for, utilizing elements of Revolution Roulette (2008), Twilight Theatre (2010) and Jealous Gods (notably the tracks include Heal My Wounds, Given and Denied, Jealous Gods, Daze, and Passion Colours Everything). I use these tracks, not just for the power ballad like delivery, but all these songs contain that component of self-reflection, and also letting go of one’s burdens. The Labyrinth is a forlorn acoustic number, an unaddressed companion piece to Dawn from Carnival of Rust, as both are not only of the same tempo and melody but also for that they carefully express the nature of coming to terms with death, and suggestively losing track of time. The subject of time was featured in Temple of Thought’s opening song Running out of Time. The Labyrinth seems to be an interpreted symbolism of the journey to the afterlife, perhaps the manifestation of limbo.   

Crystalline’s narrative details of the protagonist succeeding to start living their own life, not caring for what others think; breaking free of the strings of the Puppet Master, the mythological figure of society featured in The Game. To demonstrate the positive outcome; the song is that is of a pop and alternative rock mix. Moonlight Kissed, the ending track of the album follows on with the saddened presentation of The Labyrinth, and also forms the same pace as this track as well as Dawn. Whereas the former from Carnival of Rust handles the aftermath of someone’s death in the eyes of the deceased’s loved ones, (and it is hinted these songs are directly associated as with the representation of the changing of the seasons, it mentions that the of the new day brings pain), it is to be acknowledged that Moonlight Kissed must be the protagonist’s acceptance of their fate, and allows themselves to be wooed by death, after completing their mission in life.

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