Clairvoyant: defined as, “A supernatural ability to perceive future events”.
Clairvoyant: defined as, “A Peterborough/Toronto band that battles life’s bullshit, one song, one verse, one anger-drenched line at a time.”
“There is so much left to do before I die” screams singer Hannah Edgerton on the opening track of Clairvoyant’s latest E.P, Rot. From the first minutes of listening to this band, one can see that Clairvoyant is a band that fights against the meanderings and absurdities of everyday life. The juxtaposition between expectation for the future, and death and stagnation is one that permeates throughout many aspects of the album. Clairvoyant is a new band, and it seems that their struggle to become a cohesive unit is exemplified in the E.P’s themes of hope vs. death, expectation vs. stagnation.
The first song on the album, ‘Golden Girl’, is a defiant punk song that fights against the stagnation of hometowns as well as preconceived notions of what a punk-rock girl should be. It is a more classic type of punk song with distorted guitars and screamed vocals.
However, the second song entitled ‘Paper Cuts’ is a more mellow song with indie vibes and punk undertones. The song follows a similar subject pattern, yet attacks it in a totally different and catchy way. “Pass the bottle, distracting myself,” sings Hannah throughout each chorus. The lyrics here, although being quite simple, are delivered with a rawness and simplicity that makes one want to scream, “Fuck yeah!” right back at them.
Clairvoyant’s subject matter is just as intriguing as their sound. Their E.P., while being downtrodden in its title, has both positive and negative images throughout.
It is this juxtaposition of moods in both the sound and lyrics of Clairvoyant that makes them such an interesting band. They are a band that are prolific in substance and sound, yet manage to carry a consistent message. The message being that life is hard, and that one’s best means to cope is anyway they can.
Clairvoyant’s origin is an amalgamation of different experiences and frequent changes like many other local bands. Robyn, the drummer, and Hannah, the singer/guitarist grew up in Peterborough and played in multiple bands over the course of the last few years, the most prominent one being The Third Eye. Once they added Riley Barnes on bass, the band solidified itself, renaming as Clairvoyant.
The band mentioned that the main influence other than music in their recent tunes dealt with their move from their hometown of Peterborough, which is relatively small, to the big city of Toronto, and I can assume dealing with all the struggles of living and figuring out life and music in a new, disorienting space.
When asked about their writing process, Clairvoyant described an almost counter-intuitive process, stating, “we actually write all instrumentals before we put lyrics to it! We basically jam until we find a structure that we like and really fine-tune it. We write lyrics according to how we interpret the overall feel of the song.” Their lyrics are such an important part of their songs that to realize that they come second-hand to the instrumentals is not only surprising but also quite impressive. The amount of emotion that they evoke with their lyrics is a testament to their song-writing prowess, as well as their overall ability to gauge the feel of a sound, and write accordingly.
Punk rock is a genre that while carrying a seemingly easy sound takes a lot of effort and prowess to perfect. Not only does Clairvoyant pull off a more classic punk sound in songs such as ‘Golden Girl’ and ‘ Scumbag’, but they also bring enough originality to transcend past the punk genre and create intrigue and wonder as to where each song is going to end up.
Songs such as ‘Paper Cuts’ seem reminiscent of early 2000’s indie minus the whine, whereas others such as ‘Callisto’ seem to draw influence from jazz and electronic music.
The distinct differences in their sound that occurs from song to song may be attributed to the variety of artists that they draw influence from. When asked, the band cited Pup, King Krule, Nirvana, and John Bonham as influences, adding that they “draw influence from all over the place.” In Clairvoyant’s sound, this plethora of separate influences manifests itself into an interesting, intriguing, and collective sound.
Overall, however, Clairvoyant is an indie punk band. When asked about the state of punk rock, and whether they thought that punk as a genre is dying, they responded by saying, “We don’t necessarily think punk is dying, it’s just evolving and you can see that in successful bands like Pup, Fidlar, and Dilly Dally. All these bands in the past year have really taken off and all have very punk driven vocals but the instrumentation is a little bit more complex than traditional punk. On our E.P., we jump all over the place, going from “Scumbag”, a very groggy, pissed-off punk song about a shitty relationship, to a song like “Callisto” which instrumentally is more of a soft jazzy song focusing on the positive sides of life.”
Overall, Clairvoyant is band that touches on a wide range of aspects while staying true to the general punk aesthetic of uncertainty, angst, anger, and doubt. They are a band that, while being very young in their careers, have their whole musical lives ahead of them. And although I am not a Clairvoyant, I see a very bright future ahead for them.
Listen to their latest E.P at clairvoyant-to.bandcamp.com