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Imagine a world apart from our own—an agrarian utopia where the corroded cables of the 20th century lie in moss-covered heaps and the Mississippi River runs clear. New structures rise from the detritus, gnarled patchworks of the natural world and everything else humanity left behind. This is a world where Nirvana and NAFTA never happened, punk didn’t break but bloomed, and guitars jangle in the breeze. This is the world of Ibex Clone and their new album, All Channels Clear.
Formed by members of essential bands from the modern era of Memphis rock and roll, Ibex Clone reconfigures the paranoiac punk of Ex-Cult, NOTS and Hash Redactor into something altogether different, a vision of music from a timeline that split with ours a long time ago. Guitarist George Williford’s dizzy six- and twelve-string explorations form a lush thicket for Alec McIntyre’s fluid basslines to slip in and around, anchored by Meredith Lones’ steady, driving rhythms. Williford’s powerful vocal melodies ward off impending death and decay with visionary lyrics about humanity’s place in the ecosystem, the balm of love and friendship, and the complex feeling of being alive in this version of the world of tomorrow.
With All Channels Clear, Ibex Clone develops the woozy, folk-tinged post-punk of their excellent debut From Nowhere into a catchy, complex approach to the pastoral power pop of XTC, the Meat Puppets, and Guided By Voices. These ten beautiful tracks tunnel back through the shredded remains of folk, pop, blues and psychedelia to rediscover the real, the human, and the good in this world. Listen close and you’ll hear the ramshackle chime of Big Star, the fingerstyle melodicism of John Fahey and Gimmer Nicholson, and the wild experimentalism of Amon Düül II. Ibex Clone doesn’t offer an antidote or a soundtrack to a world in rapid decline, but instead a window into something much stranger and, maybe—if one can find the path—better.