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The Next Wave of Experimental Pop (Plus Apple Cake)
When yet another band with a doll-voiced frontwoman appears on the Must Hear list, it’s easy to be dismissive. The pervasive feminine voices of this decade seem to come in two formats: riff-centric Beyoncé impersonators or 50 Shades of Bjork. With Metric and The Dirty Projectors poised to take center stage, do we really need another Nina Persson wannabe?
The answer is yes, dammit. Because Clare and the Reasons are legitimately great. While at first, Clare Manchon might sound like an echo of cooing pop chicks past, she and husband Olivier are making really new music. Plus, is it ever a bad thing to sound a lot like Kate Bush? (Hint: No)
KR-51 is the Reasons’ third album, and much like their first two, delivers subversive weirdness with unpretentious complexity -– i.e. bitchin’ little ditties that are totally odd, but also totally rad. Though they are Brooklyn based, the band uprooted to Germany for a spell to find new inspiration. The resulting album was recorded in a little village (surrounded by sheep, cows, and neighbors that brought them apple cake), and named for the model of moped they used to ride around Berlin.
Tracks like “Step in the Gold” and “The Maurpark” seem like they’ve been lifted straight out of an old foreign film, then Frisbee’d off to a higher plane for a surgically-precise remix. Clare has spoken of her vintage influences –- she grew up “listening to almost exclusively black music from the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s,” and loves classic musicals – and these roots have worked their way into the KR-51 tapestry with delicate grace. This band could become the next wave of experimental pop. Move over, Bjorkenators.