Twelve Clay Feet is a British rock quartet. Having been on tour for more than two years, with some of their concerts even being backed by BBC Radio 1, they finally found the time to produce some hard evidence and record their debut album “Totem Bells”. Let’s see what the fuss is all about.
Starting with the straightforward electric guitar sounds of ‘Cornfed’ the band makes clear that they’re able of keeping to the old hard rock tradition. And certainly all of the tracks are rather guitar-laden, yet the band doesn’t push their sound to its limits. Apart from the guitars, the raspy voice of singer and guitarist Ian Jeffs is definitely the most striking element of their music. Still, sound-wise Twelve Clay Feet are miles away from Led Zeppelin and other big names of hard rock. They rather remind me more of the well-known prog rock band Amplifier, specifically their quieter moments, but without actually being progressive at all.
In fact, many of the songs are radio-friendly and have an undeniable pop touch to them, not only because of the sporadic use of acoustic guitars. It seems to me like Chris Rea leading an alternative rock band through some of his early songs. That comparison isn’t meant to be negative but the pop elements push the album into the mainstream, sadly. Twelve Clay Feet seem to play it safe without actually delivering a possible hit single, so I wonder what the band’s intention is.
Twelve Clay Feet surely have potential but they still need to find their special element. Nevertheless, “Totem Bells” still is a decent album in its entirety – but they could have done so much more!