From the opening bars of 'This Once', Clasp & Shake surprises the listener right until you're left worked-up and unsettled by the end of 'Skeleton Key'. Every time you think you have a grip on where it's going, it's already gone somewhere else completely. The difference between the quietly uplifting 'This Once' and the confusingly warped traditional dance music of 'Circles' is kind of weird, actually, but the vocals and unobtrusive bass lines form a theme that runs throughout the EP.
When you reach the single, 'Wishing Bone', some of the dance elements take a back seat to Kate Bush-esque soaring (and diving) vocals and eighties experimental pop. It's 'Wishing Bone' that halts any thoughts of this being a straight four-tracks of dance music and makes it an EP of real songs; songs that demonstrate interesting and unusual song writing.
By using words like 'subtle' or gentle, I don't mean to say that the beats on Clasp & Shake aren't impressive. It's that the percussion and bass instrument layers are more dramatic than 'thumping', and the way they're combined with ethereal, layered vocal tracks create something more thoughtful and powerful than 'pounding'. Towards the end of the last track 'Skeleton Key', Acre Tarn hint at quite how tricksy their synths and cuts could get, but they calmly step back from this, never venturing into full electro.
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