Twelve Clay Feet at Bristol’s Louisiana – Photo by www.willfahy.co.uk
“From small beginnings great things come” mused legendary Roman Philosopher Cicero; it would be hoped that Cambridge’s’ Twelve Clay Feet heed his words. For while tonight they only draw a modest crowd for the launch of their second album – ‘More Naked Than Obscene’ – there is certainly more than enough here to suggest that their new release will not be lacking in quality and could surprise many.
Tonight those less observant in the crowd would be forgiven for not even noticing the start of their set so low key is their entrance – it could easily be mistaken for a sound check.
Led by the sharp witted Ian Jeffsin their best moments Twelve Clay Feet deliver powerful, catchy, surprisingly thoughtful and tender rock moments (The National meets The Black Keys) which hint at a deeper melancholy of a group who have perhaps struggled with adversity in their lives (or on this night in drumming up support).
Jeffs possesses the slender angular rock physique of a Keith Richards or Jimi Hendrix and has a wonderfully passionate voice which lies somewhere between Joe Cocker, Matt Berninger and Richard Ashcroft. So gravely and whiskey-full and with an undeniable depth of feeling, it sounds like his mother may have soaked his throat in Mississippi swamp water while he was a child. He would not be out of place leading one of the bluesy British invasion bands who have clearly left their mark on Jeffs and Twelve Clay Feet’s sound.
He is joined by his twin brother Jay Jeffs on lead guitar, who stands to his right like a less animated mirror image, bassist Ollie Porsa and on drums Bob Radford.
“Can we hear it for people from Cambridge” asks Jeffs to cheers that indicate that many have made their way here from the South East before they kick into “Electric Pulse” an80’s Roxette style song in which Jeffs suggests that we “hang onto [our] halo”.
Next is “Last Rat in Hamlin” which Jeffs precedes by telling us that“this is about all your mates getting married and having kids”. It’s as spiky as its lyrical subject matter and draws an uncomfortable cough from a crowd member that implies it may be a bit too close to home to those who know the band but seems to fit their style to a tee.
Despite possessing a track called “Wrecking Ball” twerking is restricted to a mere topic of conversation tonight. “Miley Cyrus nicked our song [‘Wrecking Ball’]” Jeffs acknowledges “and this one [‘You Cant Stop’].” Although the business man in him accepts “at least it might get us some more YouTube hits”.
Photo by www.willfahy.co.uk
Following the Jay Jeffs penned lullaby that is “Big Lungs” they finish on “Hailstones”.
The first single off the new album, it’s their high water mark and is solid throughout with a heartbreakingly tender middle-eight that somehow encapsulates the mood of despair they have fought against in the abandoned venue as Jeffs desolately contemplates “All the promises you make yourself from your palace made of shells and sand trying to hold back the ocean.”
From what we have been treated to I’m sure that Twelve Clay Feet have not built their house upon the sand.
‘More Naked Than Obscene’ is out now.
Check Twelve Clay Feet out here: http://www.twelveclayfeet.com/While you’re here… The Fix is delighted to support independent film and to be involved with comedy/drama series The Awkward Conversations We Have. Here’s the opener, titled, Son We’re Swingers: