Rediscovering Stuart Copeland’s “Klark Kent” – A Hidden Gem from 1978
Released in the same year The Police skyrocketed to fame, “Klark Kent” was Stuart Copeland’s intriguing side project. To avoid overshadowing The Police’s burgeoning success, the album was released under the pseudonym Clark Kent. This move by the record label ensured that Copeland’s experiment wouldn’t distract from The Police’s rising trajectory.
What does “Klark Kent” sound like? It’s unmistakably Copeland and bears a strong resemblance to The Police’s sound. The album features tracks that Sting had originally turned down, which then found a home in this project. The music is a blend of new wave, punk, and surprisingly, a touch of avant-garde prog.
While the songs on “Klark Kent” are generally short, with the longest track, “Off His Trolley,” running about six and a half minutes, they pack a punch. Listeners might find themselves reminded of Frank Zappa’s work, Steve Hackett’s guitar stylings, and even elements of Hawkwind’s Hawk Lords era. The album’s standout feature is its instrumental tracks, which showcase Copeland’s versatility and creativity
Stuart Copeland impressively plays all the instruments on the album, including a 1969 Gibson SG standard guitar and a Fender Telecaster bass. Interestingly, despite being a renowned drummer, he used a drum box for this recording, likely due to the constraints of recording in his flat. The result is a rich and diverse sound that spans genres and showcases Copeland’s multifaceted talent.
For fans of The Police and late ’70s music, “Klark Kent” is an essential piece of the puzzle. Long out of print, this album’s reissue is a welcome opportunity for new and old fans alike. The vinyl release features polyline sleeves, a nod to the quality BMG Records has been delivering in 2023. Additionally, the 2 CD set includes a second disc full of demos, offering a glimpse into the album’s creative
process and evolution.
The main album boasts 18 tracks, each offering a unique listening experience. From the punk-infused “Old School” to the proggy and avant-garde “Kinetic Ritual,” there’s something for every fan of the era. The demos included in the CD set further enrich the listening experience, providing insight into Copeland’s artistic process.
“Klark Kent” by Stuart Copeland is more than just a side project; it’s a testament to the era’s experimental spirit and Copeland’s exceptional talent. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of The Police or a lover of late ’70s music, this album is a must-have.
Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine