For their new album, Sugarfoot left the high desert of Joshua Tree behind, in favor of an old barn in the French countryside; Studio Black Box, in Noyant- la-Gravoyère. With distractions and diversions limited to what such bucolic isolation might offer, the band has emerged with a meticulously crafted suite of songs that somehow feel both intimate and epic. It’s a shimmery, slippery sort of album, smartly uncoiling and revealing itself like a summer breeze, and making it all seem rather effortless – which in no small part should be credited to producer Lars Horntveth. Elements in the production, arrangements, instrumentation, and lyrics themselves might suggest several nods to a certain summer of love we may or may not have imagined took place once. But instead of an exercise in mere nostalgia, “In The Clearing” instead suggests a sense of violent, turbulent spring. Anchoring the album is a sense of resolve, however hard fought and hard won, which is no small matter or accomplishment in these strange, dark days we find ourselves living right now. Further helping to make “In The Clearing” an irresistible acquisition is the elaborate packaging, centering on a cover designed by Andrew Swainson, whose previous credits include XTC, Andy Partridge, and Dead Can Dance. Even by the extravagant and occasionally deranged standards of Crispin Glover Records, this one truly stands out – as befits the liquid musical mercury within.