Album Review: George Clanton & Nick Hexum
Written by Cyrus Adkins on September 20, 2021
Title: George Clanton & Nick Hexum
Artist: George Clanton & Nick Hexum
Record Label: 100% Electronica
Release Date: July 23, 2020
As I received my record in the mail yesterday, I can officially say that the new collaboration of George Clanton & Nick Hexum, provides the soundtrack to the summer that we all desperately need. In the current state of popular music that is filled to the brim with mediocre rappers and overproduced pop stars that bring nothing original to the table, these two give the listeners the nostalgic feeling of what summer used to mean.
With the release of Slide George Clanton broke through the Vaporwave scene, rising to prominence as one of the most popular independent artists in music today. Clanton has always shown his unabashed love of 311 (Hexum’s main band) so when it was announced that the two would be working together it was not a surprise. Nevertheless, with the hype of Slide looming Clanton knew that his next release would arguably be the most important of his career.
The album kicks off with the track “Aurora Summer” which from the get-go blends Hexum’s spaced-out guitar leads with Clanton’s entrancing synths perfectly, creating a warm and inviting soundscape for the listener to explore. While first listening to the album I felt an immense amount of bliss, which could be a result of the current state of affairs but regardless this album is pure happiness split up into 9 tracks. A personal recommendation would be to listen to the album with headphones and your eyes closed as you let the album clear your head of any problems you’re having.
The standout track for me would be “Time Of Wandering”. It encapsulates everything great about the album while pushing the experimentation to a new level. Hexum’s melodic vocal lead echoes throughout the track which gives the song some tragic qualities, especially during the chorus where it sounds like Clanton’s synths are raining on top of the lyrics. Hexum truly shines here giving his best performance of at least the past ten years.
While watching some interviews conducted with both Clanton and Hexum, I found it interesting that not only did Hexum barely speak but he also seemed to be overshadowed by the work of Clanton on the album. Now I’m not saying that one performance was better than the other but Hexum’s performance on the album was ridiculous. Regardless of if it’s his guitar leads or his vocal performance Hexum’s contributions to the album should not go ignored.
Some of the album’s flaws lie with two main reasons 1). Hexum’s rapping on “Crash Pad” and 2). the release of the album. First off, while I don’t find Hexum’s Rapping unbearable I can understand how this could turn some listeners off. To be fair, he’s no Biggie or Kendrick Lamar but I still believe that it adds to the overall feeling of what the song was trying to accomplish.
The issue that I have with the album’s release is based on how 100% Electronica chose to release 4 of the 9 tracks as singles leading up to the album’s release. I have no issue with a single getting released for an album that makes perfect sense, but to make the B-side of each single also a song off the album is a little rough I feel. This is especially evident when you take into concern that the album is only 35 minutes, which means that basically, half of the album is already released.
In conclusion, I feel that George Clanton & Nick Hexum is a great album that is on par with Clanton’s previous album Slide. The album combines its core pop sensibility with a genre-bending edge, thus allowing it to come off as more original than 99% of the electronic-tinged pop music today. To me, there is no better album right now than George Clanton & Nick Hexum, it serves as the perfect medicine for a COVID filled world.