Albums Reviews and Streams

Indie Pop Hero Allen Clapp Offers Sumptuous and Sunny Second Disc from His Orchestra

If sunshine were audible, it would probably sound a lot like Allen Clapp's music. Based in the Bay Area, the Northern California native has been producing a gorgeous soundtrack to the Golden State lifestyle for almost two decades under his own name and with his band The Orange Peels.

Mixed Greens is the second album from Allen Clapp and his Orchestra, but while the artist name may change on his releases, the sweet pop hooks and marvelous melodies are instantly identifiable.

While The Orange Peels' efforts blend twee indie guitar pop and strummier power pop and Clapp's releases bearing his own name are more keyboard driven, Mixed Greens comfortably splits the difference.

As is often the case with Clapp, nature and its ever-changing seasons figure prominently in his lyrics and some natural element is name-checked in almost every song. Of course, they're usually metaphors for love and its ever-changing moods, a timeless poetic touch exemplified here by "If The Wind Is Right" and "Autumn Heart," among other songs.

The album opens with an instrumental and is cleaved in two halves by another, the hilariously prog-rock-titled "In the Halls of the King of the Land Beyond the Sun." Thankfully, beyond its title, there's no trace of Emerson, Lake or Palmer.

As always, Clapp embodies the DIY aesthetic, not only composing and performing his music, but recording and producing it in his home studio and releasing it through his own Mystery Lawn Music company as well. He even took the gorgeous nature photographs that enliven the album's digital booklet.

Heading into winter, Mixed Greens is a welcome ray of musical sunshine and yet another masterstroke from Mr. Clapp. It's available digitally now with a physical release slated for the new year.

Meanwhile, Allen Clapp and his Orchestra's debut disc, the charmingly lo-fi One Hundred Percent Chance of Rain from 1994, has just been released digitally for the first time. Get it on iTunes.

Longtime fans should take note that it boasts three bonus tracks not included on the original CD and vinyl, nor the 2000 reissue on both formats, and those songs can be purchased individually.

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Thomas Bond
Contact: Thomas Bond