Formed in the English seaside town of Hove, Clearlake’s eccentric take on music has baffled, bewildered, and beguiled both the press and public since they debuted with the “Winterlight” single in January 2000 on the Domino off-shoot label Dusty Company. Jason Pegg (vocals/guitar/keyboards), who had moved to the town to attend art college, played in oddball combos the Fish Brothers and Not a Bit of Wood before forming Clearlake with college friend Sam Hewitt (keyboards, samples).
Bassist David Woodward and drummer James Butcher rounded out the lineup and Clearlake began mixing an eclectic fusion of influences including Van Der Graaf Generator, Motown, and Talk Talk with a quintessentially English lyrical perspective. They followed “Winterlight” with the much-acclaimed singles “Don’t Let the Cold In” and “Something to Look Forward To.”
Their debut album, Lido, was released in April 2001 to mainly rave reviews in the U.K. music press, with NME proclaiming that “in terms of sheer charm and lustre, Clearlake leave their contemporaries out in the cold.” The single “Let Go” followed, with an affectionate cover of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” on its flip. In 2003, the band inked a deal with Domino in the States and prepped for the release of the Almost the Same EP in August. ~ Simon P. Ward