The self-titled debut from Clor
might not be quite what you'd expect from an outfit formed from members of Roots Manuva's live band, but this album is anything but a disappointment. Taking inspiration from the angular electronic post-punk of mid-period Devo, the pure techno pulse of Kraftwerk, and the enigmatic wordplay of Pavement, Clor
is adventurous, original and unusually, for such experimentally-tinged albums, almost criminally tuneful.
Kicking off with the excellent "Good Stuff", singer-guitarist Barry Dobbin immediately nails his eccentric colours to the mast, singing about sucking up poison "though a curly straw" over metronomic beats and neat stabs of guitar. Interestingly, Clor seldom turn to that old chestnut of rock, the distortion pedal: "Love + Pain" is so clean the melody veritably sparkles, while "Dangerzone" slows things down and spaces out, like a 21st Century remake of Kraftwerks spartan "Radioactivity". Meanwhile, on "Hearts On Fire", they pull that trick that few but the Super Furry Animals can successfully pull off, morphing from rock song to techno workout with such eminent skill you can barely see the join. A remarkable debut. --Louis Patterson
There's a time and a place for every album. Clor's debut isn't quite right at a dinner party. And don't play it while you're trying to chat someone up or before you go to sleep -unless you really like spaced out dreams. A bit sci-fi, a bit electro-pop and a bit experimental, it's not an easy listen, but it is different. And in a time of identikit indie bands called The something, that's got to be a good thing.
Rather than three-minute pop songs with catchy choruses, this album consists of a series of meandering journeys into alien worlds. It could be playing in the background of that bar in Return Of The Jedi. Or as you walk into some secret meeting of comic book enthusiasts. But it's not all geek chic. It's glam 80s synth, messy guitars, changing tempos and futuristic rhythms. Let's put it this way, it's unlikely you'll be humming a Clor tune on your way to work in the morning.
The singles stand out. "Love + Pain" sounds like early Supergrass and "Outlines" seems destined to become a classic. "Dangerzone" evokes new millennium visions of robots clunking around in factories and "Magic Touch" sounds a little like Prince.
It's definitely worth a listen, but is it worth your hard-earned cash? Not unless you're really into chaotic pop. However, there is definitely a time for this album -it's great for silly dancing. Especially if you love wearing sharp suits two sizes too small, dramatic eye make up and glitter. Even more so if you've perfected the clunky robotics that was all the rage a couple of decades ago. And if you can get to see them live while you're doing it, you'll have found the perfect time and place for Clor. --Joanna Witt
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