Fresh from his contribution
to Scott Benningfield's The Acoustic Lighthouse Experiment,
Clark delivers twelve slices of eclectic home-studio craft as diverse
and as unpredictable as the selections on a jukebox. Now I have to admit,
I'm a sucker for Dobro playing, which is what is so cool about "Your
Alibis." As the dobro twangs, Clark sings of the realization that
the excuses of the singer's lover are starting to wear a little thin and,
"it's all gonna catch up with (her), somehow." In fact, Clark
seems fairly comfortable in the country music camp, especially with the
intro to the Chet Adkins/Duane Eddy-influenced instrumental, "Space
Chicken." Eventually, the guitar picking gives away to a synth and
tone-pedal interlude before traveling back to the main theme and provides
the listener with a nice musical tour in a four-minute time frame.
Continuing on the musical journey, Clark samples the waters of the 1930s with "To Virginia," which reeks of Depression-era charm and provides the listener with enough dulcimer and mandolin mistakes (I think) that the artist appears seemingly at ease with the proceedings, and, it is hoped, his craft. From the Depression, we continue the sojourn to the later part of the 20th century, with "Encircled" and a Dire Straits-influenced (i.e., Knoffler-like lead guitar licks.) The robot-like spoken part and computer noise provide contrast to the song as a whole, with Clark providing his philosophy regarding relationships: Some need it fancy, I need it plain. But the highlight of Strangely Delicious Stew is the first cut, an instrumental called "Neurotransmission," which works surprisingly well as a new age-style instrumental. The surreal quality and the different textures of the arrangement make it fun for the listener to follow along. And even with Clark's tendency to dabble in different musical styles, it makes the listener sit up with anticipation as to what is coming next. Strangely unpredictable is this stew.