We could all use more fiber. Eating nutritious foods is important; just so with music. Occasionally, bland albums without any substance make their way to the consumer. This is exactly what has happened with She Likes Cloth’s self-titled album, which is an uninspired debut.
She Likes Cloth is an indie rock band from Secaucus, New Jersey, that formed two years ago. They’ve yet to win the attention of any labels, but songs like “Beauty Blue Skies,” a song about their hometown, and “Age Ain’t Nothing but an Officer,” which mocks a local news station that apologizes for a pedophile, earned them some online buzz. And with their first album, available on Bandcamp, the band hopes to “be witnessed by the world.”
But they go after this attention in all of the wrong ways. The album begins with a piece of spoken word poetry performed by the band’s lead singer, Aldon Shelson, about a relationship in which “all [he] does is give, but all [his partner] does is take.” It feels like you’re right there with him in the worst way possible. All I can picture is an entire coffeeshop, uncomfortable and staring at the ground as he rhymes “maniac” with “SuperPAC.” From there we get more wallpaper tracks like “Meet Feels” and “Maybe We Can’t Be Sure.” This describes the majority of this album, a collection of tracks that are only remarkable in how forgettable they are. Meanwhile, the more uncomfortable moments serve only as sign posts.
Listening to this album you get the sense that SLC didn’t have a real direction in mind when they started recording. “Officer Mitchell” is an odd moment where the band retreads the formula that’s led to former success. Guitarist Kenrich Williams actually provides some awesome background vocals here but for the most part it feels like the band is spinning its tires, recapping a topic they’ve dealt before, a cop oblivious to age. The next track, “Sometimes We Say Fuck,” might be the album’s nadir where Shelson writes a song with so much ennui and awful clichés about youth and romance it might as well be a Chainsmokers song. It doesn’t help that the soaring chorus on this track was made with the sole intent to be used in a commercial.
The band is at its best when it isn’t focused on trying to having the widest appeal possible. The best example of this is the song “I Hope Obama Heard My Song,” which is an almost absurd ode to their own relative obscurity. “The Gorilla Channel” feels like it may be the beginnings of a good song, but unfortunately devolves into the why-don’t-girls-ever-go-for-the-nice-guys trope. And “Everyone at This Party Smells Like a Coward” has a few funny lines like “I ate your pussy like Play-Doh” but ultimately comes off as arrogant and unlikable. And that mostly sums up this album, kind of unlikable, kind of arrogant, and not really worth remembering.
Often times with debut albums we can be more forgiving. Some of that is an understanding of the value of experience but mostly it is because of the possibility the interesting morsels could represent on the next albums. However, She Likes Cloth is an album devoid of both flavor and nutrition. Not only does it have no personality but there’s not even any good tracks to hang onto. Personally, I would rather eat cardboard then listen to this album again because cardboard at least has fiber.