CLOWNS – Does It Matter / Sarah 7"

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"...The band’s follow up to ‘Nature/Nurture’ is a 7-inch that consists of two songs, but what makes these tracks so notable is how Clowns have strayed away from their past ominous and confrontational tone with this release. In fact, these songs are some of the brightest tunes in the band’s catalogue and yet they still absolutely rock.

Track one is titled “Does It Matter?” It’s a catchy and uplifting song with lyrics that interestingly revolve around committing crime. It features lead singer Stevie Williams’s cleaner and more melodic vocals rather than his signature fierce yelling. He and bassist Hanny J consistently switch lead vocals during the chorus, and just like many of the tracks on ‘Nature/Nurture,’ their singing styles contrast with each other’s quite well. On the musicianship side, Clowns once again show that they can masterfully craft an incredibly unique and engaging punk tune. Notably it’s the rolling bass that is played over the lightly distorted guitar chords that build up a bunch of tension which is turn is broken up when the anthemic chorus kicks in. But what really makes “Does It Matter?” shine is the amazingly intricate guitar solo that acts as the song’s outro.

Clowns take us from lyrics about committing crime to the complications of love and hormones with the second track called “Sarah.” Right off the bat the choppy guitar and bass notes create this sense urgency, which is quite the contrast to “Does It Matter?” One again Williams sticks to more melodic singing, but this time Hanny J is providing very beautiful backing harmonies for him. Between the fuzzy bass, blaring drums, and heavy guitar riffs that appear later in this track, “Sarah” walks that fine line of being a punk song and a metal song. And this is something that Clowns have always been really great at doing, just listen to tunes like “I Shave My Legs For You” from ‘Nature/Nurture’ or “Fifteen Minutes” from 2017’s ‘Lucid Again’ for example.

It isn’t totally clear as to whether the ‘Does It Matter?/Sarah’ 7-inch is a signal that Clowns is taking their sound in this new direction or whether these two tracks are outliers that happen to fit really well together. If you listen to their other albums such as ‘Bad Blood’ and ‘Lucid Again’ back-to-back, you’ll quickly realize that you can’t really fit Clowns’ sound into just one box. Personally, I think we need to wait and see what the band’s next full-length (whenever that gets announced and released) sounds like to really make that call. Regardless, what is clear is that these two brighter songs are still absolutely on par with band’s quality of songwriting. They absolutely shred to the point where I would not be surprised if this release tops many “Best EP’s/Singles Of 2021” lists at the end of the year."

- Ricky Frankel,