Claire - The Great Escape (Capitol Records) 
Claire - The Great Escape

Release Date: 9th June 2014

What's in a name? Well, for German band Claire they seem to have chosen a fairly run of the mill, popular in the 80s girls name as the title they want up in lights above a stadium stage when the rock out to Cleveland with fireworks going off all around them. Equally puzzling is the fact that they've chosen to name their debut long-player after the one that Blur had such big, Country House sized success with. Nevertheless, Claire are neither a school girl in the 80s nor are they a Blur tribute band so let's hear what they actually are.

Immediately the music starts and all that name bollocks is out of the window as the huge, expansive sounds of 'Broken Promise Land' loom large on the horizon and instantly I am in love. 'Games' is up next and the flow continues with gorgeous synth stabs, swirling beats and sultry Germanic vocals making this one of the electro-pop albums of the year and we're only two tracks in. The 80s electronic drums that herald 'Pioneer' hide the fact that this is a darkly delicious and sexy number that is all black leather and cigarette holders in the shadows. There is something vaguely familiar about the melody of 'You Walk In Beauty' that I can't put my finger on but what I can say is that this is the sound that La Roux has been trying to find without anything approaching this level of success.

There are fourteen tracks on this album which is a brave choice but by the time we hit the middle of the album with tracks like 'Neon Love', 'Overdrive' and 'My Audacity' the consistency is well and truly nailed down and you can forget any likelihood of these guys peaking too early. The Ultravox drum echoes on 'Hallowed Ground' are a delight while 'A Million Drums' bounces like an early Nintendo graphic in a game version of a film noir set in an early 80s vision of the future - if you can possibly imagine such a thing. And then there's the dreamy, half-awake vocals of 'The Great Escape' which suddenly transform in to a skipping, neon infused 80s party that Katy Perry desperately wants to travel back in time for just so she can do filthy things to Ferris Bueller in the downstairs toilet.

Claire have a great ability to switch from the fun, party vibe end of the electro spectrum and the moody, atmospheric space where tracks like 'In Two Minds' exist. The woozy electro melody and driving bass of 'Roll Down Run South' is a pure electro delight while 'Resurrection' has something of 'the funk' about it as the sweeping melodies roll across the horizon full of Ladyhawke's passion and the dirty electro grinds of Goose or Transformer - it's one hell of a sexy tune, trust me. The album closes with 'Next Ones To Come' which is a stuttering, jerky tune that fans of the XX will enjoy as the guitar melody skits around like a dragonfly over a neon lake. I can't emphasise how gorgeous and jaw dropping this album is and how pleasingly surprising it is to come across a new artist who is bang on message and producing music that will slot straight in to what is filling up the airwaves. Finally, a German invasion I can get on board with.

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Live Dates:

20th June - Campus Festival, Mittweida
28th June - Rock A Field, L-Roser
4th July - Open Air Wettlingen, Wettlingen
11th July - Horst Festival, Monchengladbach
12th July - Passion Of The Young Festival, Schwedt
18th July - Kurt Festival, Reutlingen
19th July - Oben Ohne Open Air, Munchen
31st July - Szene Open Air, Lustenau
1st August - Stuck Festival, Salzburg
7th August - Festkulturwochen, Kempten
15th August - FM4 Frequency Festival, St Polten

16th August - Nonstock Festival, Fischbachtal