Allen Clapp, the lead singer and songwriter of West-Coast indiepop band The Orange Peels, is never content to re-visit familiar musical terrain. In 1994, under the monicker Allen Clapp and his Orchestra, he surprised the world with "One Hundred Percent Chance of Rain" — an album he recorded on a batter-powered four-track cassette deck in the bedrooms, churches and VW vans of his native Northern California.
Clapp is transforming expectations yet again in 2012: leading listeners on an adventure in soundscapes and songcraft sparking with palpable energy. Clapp somehow navigates 70s Nashville pop, Rundgren-esque soft-rock and slick Eurodisco with a Brill-Building songwriting prowess that unifies his vision for the future of pop.
Created at his own Silicon Valley-based Mystery Lawn Studio, "Mixed Greens" is an entirely new breed of cat. "Downfall No. 3" has something of the right-hand turn Brian Wilson once made when he ditched surf 'n' psych for the soulful sounds of "Wild Honey." "All or Nothing" adds something new to the morning weather report: an overriding sense of melancholy. And the majestic "Treeline," with its stepladder modulations and heart-wrenching vocals, leads the man into virgin forests and blazing, New-World sunsets.
This is the music Allen Clapp was born to create.
"If sunshine were audible, it would probably sound a lot like Allen Clapp's music . . . 'Mixed Greens' is a welcome ray of musical sunshine and yet another masterstroke from Mr. Clapp"
—New Times Phoenix
"The total effect is something like Todd Rundgren from his 'Hellow, It's Me' days with the Nazz and later solo ventures like 'Something/Anything?' It feels like a direction he's always meant to take."
"If the Zombies, the pillowy billowy 60s baroque pop band, were instead actual zombies, the brain they would want to eat the most would be, no, the guy from the Shins is a good guess, Mr. Allen Clapp, whose midcentury modernist post-pastoral swoon-rock occasionally causes me to make noises surprisingly wimpy for a man of my machismo."
—Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)