One Track Mind: Invisible Familiars, “Clever Devil” (2014)

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Invisible Familiars are a multifarious musical trio and the brainchild of psych-pop multiinstrumentalist Jared Samuel. Hailing from Brooklyn, Samuel in addition to guitarist Robbie Mangano and drummer Tim Kuhl also make up the core of Sean Lennon’s experimental band the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.

“Clever Devil” is packed with quirky musical details that accentuate the obsessive mantra of the melody. The song slithers in on a percussive yet clandestine acoustic guitar groove, over which is laid a sly Samuels vocal that unfolds like a revealing and intimate conversation with a close friend.

As the song expands, it acquires more instrumental flourishes, ranging from cautionary keyboards, to spectral backing vocals and flashing red siren guitars. The groove never loses its cool, letting the instrumental coloring do the work. The chorus section is the only break in the cloudy rhythm, letting small pieces of blue sky peak through. One solo breakdown appearing midway through the track features a phased laser guitar line as it struggles for supremacy against a solitary drunken horn.

If this song, due with “Digger’s Invitation” on a seven-inch later this month via Other Music, is any indication of the ingenuity to be found on the upcoming Invisible Familiars release, there will be a plethora of auditory delights and addictive melodies to explore.

Kuhl has his own well-regarded solo career, and Mangano has worked with Julie Slick, as well.

Stephen Lewis

A creative writing major at SUNY Brockport and freelance writer from Upstate New York, Stephen Lewis maintains a music-focused site called Talk From the Rock Room: He has also written for UpstateLive Music Guide and Ultimate Classic Rock. Contact Something Else! at
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