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Despite the positive critical buzz since their formation in 2000, Clearlake have continued to remain a cult favorite both at home (the British town of Brighton) and abroad. Band members Jason Pegg and Sam Hewitt formed the band while attending art school in the nearby seaside town of Hove. Eventually joined by bassist Dave Woodward and James Butcher on drums, they released their debut single, "Winterlight," which was eventually sewn into the fabric of their 2001 debut, Lido. A few years later, they recorded in France with Cocteau Twins' Simon Raymonde, who influenced the layered, lush Brit pop direction of 2003's Cedars. Like other hard-to-categorize British bands Radiohead and Elbow, Clearlake don't stick to a formulaic song approach but flit with ease from epic guitar ballads to the sound of static and reverb -- they're ever-exhilarating and impossible to pigeonhole. Amber, released in 2005 (with new drummer Toby May), is packed with upbeat energy and optimism, exemplified by selections that leap from an orchestral Motown-drum-pounding bounce to pure rawk-out reverberation. However, shortly after its release, guitarist and co-founder Sam Hewitt left the band. Clearlake continue to search for his replacement while playing as a trio.
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