Ashes to ashes, dust to dust – Cat Clyde’s “Bird Bone” sings to the irrevocable slings of mortality. Following the melancholy footsteps of “Anymore” and “All the Black,” the Stratford, Ontario singer-songwriter is no stranger to exploring the depths of her own sorrow. Yet, unlike its more recent and shoe-gazey predecessors, “Bird Bone” binds Clyde’s heavy words and harrowing intonation to the mast of a spaghetti western soundtrack – an infusion of reverb-coated electric guitar, bass, and drums that just about catapults the listener into the Wild West.
Recorded in collaboration with Carlo, a local Toronto band, “Bird Bone” too is dashed with sounds of surf and soul, distinctive of the group’s music. With influences such as Janis Joplin and Etta James, it is no surprise the singer has crafted her own unique style that fans of Angel Olsen and Shannon Shaw are likely to appreciate. “Bird Bone” quite perfectly captures Clyde’s high contrast range, to the intentional ways in which she manipulates her voice – making challenging vocal slides appear seemingly effortless, and delivering a timbre that is somehow as smooth as it is sharp, as warm as it is chilling.
Along with its sonic debut, Clyde released an animated video for the single, directed by artist and filmmaker Xavier Palin. Following the POV of a personified cast of desert characters (imbued with souls as olde as Clyde’s) – poker-playing and cigarette-smoking, the story of a one-eyed fox, a fleeing hawk, and an unkindness of ravens in hot-pursuit unfolds. A day in the life of a bird’s eye view – a vignette of death, rebirth, and decay – “Leaves begin to wither, everything bleeds together,” Clyde laments – as if to simply acknowledge that pain is unavoidable, and universal. Palin’s animation, then, paints a storybook backdrop to the complexities of Clyde’s sentiments as if it were an Aesop’s fable, bearing the truths of life soundly and poignantly.
With the anticipated upcoming release of her second album, “Bird Bone” has undoubtedly succeeded in capturing the attention of Clyde’s fans, and moving indie-listeners everywhere.