Klark Kent – Klark Kent (2xLP or 2xCD)


When Stewart Copeland released his solo album in 1980, he was the first member of The Police to achieve such a feat, and what’s more impressive is that they were at the height of their powers and in a whirl of activity. However, triumph often comes from adversity and Stewart, operating under the moniker Klark Kent, produced some of the era’s most inventive music which still sounds futuristic, even today. That album gets compiled with non-album single cuts and a new version of ‘Love Lessons’ (a song originally recorded with Derek Holt) making Klark Kent the perfect introduction to the off-kilter world of Stewart Copeland.

Outside of The Police, Stewart Copeland is perhaps best known for providing the soundtrack to 1983 movie Rumble Fish (most notably the track ‘Don’t Box Me In’ with Stan Ridgway) and Klark Kent operates much in that vein. Unorthodox time signatures and nifty time changes reign supreme, but Copeland’s genius (as with much of his solo work) is in making the unconventional palatable; you feel that in other hands this music would be a tangled mess, yet Stewart’s singularity of vision ties it all together. That’s partly because he handles all the instrumentation, but mainly it is his diversity as a drummer which is brought to the fore and that becomes immediately evident on opening track ‘It’s Gonna Rain’. It is a song that doesn’t sit easy in any category and can be classified as “new wave” only because that’s an umbrella term which incorporates several styles. Revealing itself to be jerky, angular and quirky, ‘It’s Gonna Rain’ nevertheless has an earworm quality that’ll haunt you long after the disc’s stopped spinning.

When the original 10-track Klark Kent dropped in 1980 there was nothing to compare it to, and to say it confused people would be something of an understatement, yet it is the confounding of the record buying public that gave Klark Kent a timeless quality ( which sucht challenging music often has). With this collection Stewart Copeland proves himself a versatile instrumentalist, but that should come as no surprise to those who know his musical lineage (check out his work with Curved Air and Ken Bishop’s Nice Twelve). However, it is in the vocal department that Stewart falls a little short and he has a definite “Marmite” quality that takes a little getting used to but such is his cool turn of phrase, plus his sheer veracity, that any limitations are soon forgotten. A good musician will often turn a flaw into a strength (necessity is often the mother of invention) and the jarring quality of his voice fits the cubist nature of Klark Kent and it’ll ensure the likes of ‘Too Kool To Kalypso’ will lodge themselves in your memory bank, and with minimal fuss.

Available as a two CD and double vinyl set, purchasing options will require a little thought but I’d recommend the vinyl for the curious and the two CD set, with a host of unreleased demo tracks, for the hardcore fan. For a while Stewart Copeland denied he was the brains behind Klark Kent (partly to not hinder The Police’s career) and initially stated Kent was a Hungarian ballet teacher in league with the CIA. Now the secret is out and Copeland has assumed ownership, Klark Kent is a collection Stewart can be very proud of.

Vinyl Track List:

Side A:

  1. It’s Gonna Rain *
  2. Don’t Care
  3. Away From Home
  4. Rich In A Ditch
  5. Grandelinquent

Side B:

  1. Guerilla
  2. Old School
  3. Excesses
  4. Kinetic Ritual

Side C:

  1. Thrills
  2. Office Girls
  3. Too Kool To Kalypso
  4. Stay Ready
  5. Strange Things Happen

Side D:

  1. Love Lessons
  2. Yo Ho Ho
  3. Someone Else *
  4. Office Talk

CD Track List:

Disc One:

  1. It’s Gonna Rain *
  2. Don’t Care
  3. Away From Home 
  4. Rich In A Ditch 
  5. Grandelinquent 
  6. Guerilla 
  7. Old School 
  8. Excesses 
  9. Kinetic Ritual
  10. Thrills
  11. Office Girls
  12. Too Kool to Kalypso
  13. Stay Ready
  14. Strange Things Happen
  15. Love Lessons
  16. Yo Ho Ho
  17. Someone Else *
  18. Office Talk

Disc One:

  1. Away From Home (Demo) *
  2. Rich In A Ditch (Demo) *
  3. Grandelinquent (Demo) *
  4. Guerilla (Demo) *
  5. My Old School (Demo) *
  6. Excesses (Demo) *
  7. Theme For Kinetic Ritual (Demo) *
  8. Don’t Care (Demo) *
  9. Thrills (Demo) *
  10. Office Girls (Demo) *
  11. Too Kool To Kalypso (Demo) *
  12. Strange Things (Demo) *

Previously Unreleased