Originally cleen, then Cleaner and now Clear Vision, it seems that every time this project releases a new album it changes its name. Still, whatever the label, their sound has always enticed me in. Driven by Haujobb's Daniel Myer, this was a rare UK live appearance and one I was determined to catch despite only finding out about it two days beforehand. Although only two guys with one synth and a laptop, like all good live acts, there was more than what simply met the eye.
Clear Vision's brand of moody electronic music has always straddled a conspicuously uncommon position somewhere between EBM and electronica. Here, there is seemingly little effort to comply to expectations. The 45-minute set was punchy, varied and impressive. Most notably, Daniel Myer's vocals were the best I've ever heard them. Far more expressive than ever before, and this on songs where he is more likely to be really singing about love rather than mumbling about technology. From my lack of familiarity with some of the material I assume that much of the set comprised tracks from the (as yet unpurchased) third album Deception - which wasn't critically well-received. However, choice moments from the first two albums did get a welcome look in too.
There were generally more vocals than I expected but, unlike some of Myer's appearances over here as Haujobb (which have tended to concentrate on the high BPM compositions), there was plenty of variety in terms of track style and tempo. Although I've been following Myer's career for many, many years I still find myself both surprised and impressed with the quantity and quality of his output under whatever moniker. Clear Vision live is certainly up their with the best of that multifaceted artist's vehicles and one well worth tracking down when next they play anywhere near you.
The Droyds were not dressed from head-to-toe in silver foil as one might have anticipated from the name, but are exponents of that ever-so fashionable electroclash sound. You know, the kind of thing that sounds like early 80s analogue synth 'pop' but with a slightly post 1990s attitude bolted on. A five piece for tonight's performance, The Droyds feature former The Grid member Richard Norris and a delightfully presented peroxide vixen, Casey, on vocals (loved those fishnet stockings, argyle socks and patent red stilettoes).
About half the set was made up of an eclectic, and well-chosen, selection of cover versions. The current single (on Alan McGee's Poptones label), a nice take on Squeeze's Take Me I'm Yours (an underrated classic well due for rediscovery) joined with Girls On Pills - the Droyds' interpretation of the Duran Duran classic Girls On Film. Like much of this light-hearted music, there's little gravitas to what is thrown out to the audience but since the artistes never take themselves too seriously that isn't really an issue. Far better, as many did, to take it for what it was - harmless retro-inspired entertainment with a large dose of kitsch and sleaze.
To their credit, The Droyds' sound is remarkably harsh by today's standards - think early Fad Gadget or The Normal's Warm Leatherette for a sense of direction - and you'll know what I mean. Unlike many bands doing the rounds on the UK underground circuit, courtesy largely of Flag Promotions, The Droyds' combination of self-effacing attitude, some solid tunes and brilliant presentation could even see them chart in the Top 40. Although I suspect this will all be very short-lived, there is something warming to be had from thinking we could see this lot on Top Of The Pops.
See also the cleen/Cleaner/Clear Vision page on [dso]