Comprised of sibling duo Jason and Paul Watkins, the Nashville, TN-based duo of Clemency grew up in a musical family from Oklahoma; in fact, the Watkins brothers spent their free time singing in choirs, took piano lessons and the brothers began playing music together in high school — with Paul taking up bass and Jason writing lyrics in response. And reportedly, their songwriting process hasn’t changed much since.
As soon as the duo moved to Nashville, they were introduced to the Grammy Award-nominated producer Brent Milligan, who worked with them on Clemency’s debut full-length effort, Vapors, which was released to critical praise for its use of lo-fi instrumentation and a blend of vibey pop and ambient rock. Their follow-up effort, My Heart is The Eastern Horizon EP had the band developing a concept video around each song, which naturally allowed fans to further immerse themselves in each song’s particular narrative. And as a result, the EP’s title track was listed as a Top 10 Amazon MP3 single, and was also most notably, was a “New and Noteworthy” iTunes future and an “Artists on the Rise” Amazon feature.
Soon after the band released My Heart Is The Eastern Horizon, they quickly returned to the studio to write and record the material that would eventually comprise their forthcoming EP, You’ve Got the Fire, which is slated for a February 10. 2015 release. And interestingly enough, as the band was writing material, they realized that questions about love kept coming up, so much like their previous effort they decided that they should create one overarching love story that could be told through six videos – and of course, each of those videos would coincide with each song. In the EP’s press notes, the Watkins claim that the EP’s visual component is heavily inspired by the likes of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, The Goonies, The Karate Kid, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Drive; in fact, from what I understand you may see familiar character and plot archetypes, which wouldn’t be terribly surprising. After all, many of those were huge movies. But that’s neither here nor there for the moment.
“Runaways,” the latests single from the forthcoming EP, starts off with a slow-burning opening with twinkling keyboard keys followed by earnest vocals before throbbing bass and an anthemic hook and chorus. It’s certainly contemporary and manages to sound much like a number of things you’d hear on the radio over the past 18 months or so, thanks to its effortless slickness; however, their ability to craft an infectiously catchy hook caught my attention and my ear. I could easily picture them playing in an arena and seeing thousands of fans lustily shouting along with the chorus – and with that kind of hook that could certainly happen.