"Lights of the Living" (Village Slut Records; 2022)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Being unfamiliar with the many bands that David Judson Clemmons has been a part of (JUD, Damn the Machine, The Fullbliss, Ministers of Anger, and Murdercar), I didn't know what to expect from his fourth solo album, "Lights of the Living." For the first full minute, I thought maybe he had a lot of Neil Young influence, which I'm okay with. But then things changed just after that minute and I wondered if, perhaps this was some kind of stoner release.

But then things changed again.

Track 2, "Berlin," started off with a smoother beat and a irresistible guitar riff that carried me through the rest of the tune. Track 3, "Human Odyssey," starts off with a progressive sound that morphs (again, at about the one-minute point) into an interesting audioscape that gently hammers into your brain. "The More I See," track four, delivers a heavier riff that speaks of chaos.

And so it goes. Without going through every track on "Lights of the Living," I will say that each track is an individual journey but that maintains the path of the album's journey. I read in an online interview with Clemmons that "Lights of the Living" "captures the struggle and mood of the years 2020 and 2021, in the village with my family in Germany, locked down and writing and recording through two winters, trading files via internet with my drummer." And you can feel that frustration and helplessness throughout the album. The emotion is there, captured in the music and lyrics.

Strangely enough, my favorite track was the final track, "Sea of Ends," an 8-minute monster (the longest on the six-track album, despite the fact four others are five minutes plus). The guitars on this track caught my attention as soon as they appeared and it's another track whose electricity is undeniable, even as it slows and speeds up, softens and hardens, throughout that extended running time.

I can't say that "Lights of the Living" is for everyone, but if you're looking for a deep, thoughtful and fully entertaining listen, you might give this one a try.

For more information, check out https://www.djclemmons.com/.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2022 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.