‘Love Prank’: CLEWS stripped-back EP signals a stunning departure from their signature sound

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‘Love Prank’: CLEWS stripped-back EP signals a stunning departure from their signature sound

Words by Alex Callan

CLEWS’ first EP Loveluck Omens was about crashing through the first waves of romance and crushes. The new EP Love Prank lives in the depths of love and loss.

If you’re familiar with Sydney-based indie-rockers CLEWS, you’d most likely be expecting their newest EP to offer up more of the distorted boygenius-infused rock stylings that the group have cut their teeth on.

Instead, Love Prank sees Lily and Grace Richardson offer up a complete change of pace, both figuratively and literally. 

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

On Love Prank, the upstarts strip back the layers of fuzzy distortion to deliver a heartfelt and reflective release that completely refines their sound. As recently stated by the duo, “We took a totally different approach in the studio with this EP and decided to let the songs be unobscured by heavy guitars and production. Going softer and more stripped back on these tracks seemed a little scary at first, because we’ve always positioned CLEWS as a rock band. But what the fuck is the point of writing vulnerable songs if we forever hide them behind distortion?”

The results are timeless. Not only does the stripped-back nature allow for the sisters’ songwriting to take centre stage, but it fully showcases the power, depth and uniqueness of each sister’s vocals. 

‘If Only If’ blends timeless guitar arrangements alongside unison vocal harmonies to channel early Fleetwood Mac and The Roaches folk balladry. ‘Can’t Be Real’ toys with subtleties to gradually build immersive and atmospheric soundscapes, while ‘Step Up 2 Me’ delivers slow power-rock balladry alongside 90s Alanis Morissette edge.

Love Prank could honestly be called ‘No Clews’ because it is the furthest thing from what you’d be expecting based on the group’s previous sound, but yet, it’s a welcomed change that further highlights the Richardson sisters as unique, insightful and acute songwriters. 

You’ll be able to catch CLEWS live at Here Comes The Sun festival in Torquay on Saturday 30 March.

Listen to the album here