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The Clumsy Lovers

Smart Kid – 2005 (Nettwerk)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by The Clumsy Lovers

When The Clumsy Lovers released "After the Flood" last year, it was the band's first wide exposure outside of their native Canada. But across the Great White North, the Lovers were already a verified sensation, having self-released seven albums to an increasingly rabid fan base.

Here, the Lovers' "sophomore" release, the quintet continues to build a propulsive sound based on their unique genre blending of bluegrass ("People I've Been Meaning to Thank"), Celtic ("Coming Home"), folk ("Not Long For This World"), pop ("Bobby Banjo"), country ("Better Days"), reggae ("London Bridge"), calypso ("Cock of the North"), hip hop (the title track) and anything else they can comfortably jam into the mix, like a Celtic/bluegrass version of Barenaked Ladies. In lesser hands, this kind of stylistic skipping would result in a directionleess mess, but the Lovers are absolute masters at absorbing trace elements of any number of disparate genres and incorporating it seamlessly into their potent bluegrass foundation.

"Smart Kid" shows the Clumsy Lovers at the very top of their fascinatingly diverse game.