Three Counties based musician Chris Cleverley has just released his first album in three years, his reaction, in part to humanity’s forced joint spectator of the past two or so years. As inspiration for this album, he set out to weave the two together with discordant and unflinching honesty. Combining elements of Lo-Fi Folk, Ambient, IDM and Dream-Pop, Broadcast the Secret Verse is an album of rebirth and reinvention.
Produced by Reveal Records artist John Patrick Elliott (The Little Unsaid), the album’s vibrant, uplifting feel creates immediate associations with Indie greats Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers & Elliott Smith, while echoes of Aphex Twin and Jóhann Jóhannsson reflect eclectic influences. Chris’s characteristically complex fingerstyle guitar underpins bold, experimental production. Ambient electric guitars, synths, samples & programming combine to push the boundaries and shatter the expectations of contemporary acoustic-led music. All-star cast Lucy Farrell (Vocals, The Furrow Collective), Rob Pemberton (Drums, The Staves) and Lukas Drinkwater (Bass, Emily Barker) add immeasurably to this sound.
The best track on the album comes right at the end: ‘If I’d Have Listened‘ is a gentle yet haunting tale of second chances and living to feel the beauty around us. Full of danceability, this folk driven song is joyful and thankful and has a touch of an anthem at moments throughout. The melody flows naturally and the lyrics are simple, pure and heartfelt:
Show me the beauty of all that I’d have missed if I’d have listened to myself that day
I’d never have given myself the chance of dying in your arms one day
Before we reach the final track, Chris takes on a diverse journey through subjects such as pervasive artificial intelligence (‘A Prediction Algorithm’), climate/nuclear emergency (‘Still Life’) and the mass displacement of people (‘The Centre Cannot Hold’). Some of these themes may sound bleak and dark but Chris has the clever knack of posing difficult questions in the midst of beautiful melodies that dance over seemingly intractable problems to the extent that anything seems possible.
Broadcast The Secret Verse is an album about being unafraid to put a voice to the difficult ideas of our times and saying the things that need to be said. It’s uplifting and powerful.
Chris’s advice for aspiring musicians is all about finding your own voice:
“It’s something we hear a lot but I think keeping it real is so important. Figuring out exactly what it is you want to say whether that’s in your lyrics, interviews or social posts or whatever and just running with it. Making it individual, making it unique. Even if it goes against what all the big industry blogs are telling us to do. Even if it doesn’t seem to be what gets the most hits on social media, we should never compromise on that. If we make everything we communicate about our music a piece of art in itself then people feed off that, and it makes the whole journey a lot more of a wholesome experience. Oh and practice with a metronome!”
Broadcast the Secret Verse was released on 4 November. Get your copy here.
Catch Chris ON TOUR through to 1 December. Or if you can’t make it, follow him at: