Whimsical and sassy, Between the Bed Sheets and Turpentine is a circus-inspired merry-go-round of accordion, glockenspiel, mandolin, steel guitar, bells, organ and cotton candy. The 13-song record stuns with radiating harmonies and toe-tapping instrumentation, but it is Clark who is so chilling. Her jolly band of performers have a tale to tell, it would seem -- and the listener is invited for the ride.
The tug-and-pull between overtly playful and grandiose is most evident on "Bum Bah Dum" and "I'm a Lark." Separated by one track, the tension and candor displayed on the two is polar opposites: the first is free spirited and gleeful, provoking images of carnival rides and clowns. The latter, a Nickel Creek-inspired ballad with words like "mockingbird" and "with these wings I'll fly."
More than anything, it would seem that Clark is reinventing herself and loving every minute of it, but maybe that's not the case. Maybe the chaos is intended: a joyful mess perfectly crafted. Part fun and part serious. The human condition pieced together with bells and piano. Or, as is the case with a song that sounds a tad too good, Clark is healing. Growing.
Between the Bedsheets and Turpentine is magnificent in the same ways it is limiting: for every mountain there is a slide that curves and bends towards the bottom. It's this never-ending battle of up and down -- happy and sad -- that creates a record with immense replay value.
Or maybe it's just fun. And that's all it was meant to be. I'll drink to that.