Posted by: will | February 1, 2007

Clair De Lune…

BEST NEW MUSIC

Clair De Lune “Assisted Living” (Deep Elm)

BUY HERE!

(Only 1000 copies of this CD were pressed. You either have to mail order it or get it from the band if you want a hard copy! So, get on it!)

If I would have had this blog back in 2004 you would surely know about this band by now. Clair De Lune’s 2004 debut album Marionettes was a record that occupied much of my time that year. The record was a brilliant breath of fresh air into a stale scene and it became one of my favorite records of the year. Unfotunately, as with many bands on Deep Elm, Clair De Lune has remained under the radar. The band eschews that fact and returns with Assisted Living. Somewhere between emo and post-hardcore, Clair De Lune has created a record with one foot firmly in the past and one foot seemingly walking out the door.

This has been one of the more difficult reviews to write for me. Upon my first listens I found Assisted Living to be a drastic departure in sound for Clair De Lune and wrote a review accordingly. However, upon further examination the album is not so much a departure in sound as it is a natural progression and maturation. Production-wise Asssisted Living is a giant leap forward for the band.

You can tell a certain difference right from the beginning. Album opener “Killjoy” is a track that I heard the band play while they toured behind Marionettes. It is a song that immediately got my attention at the time. The song is infectious and shall I say dancy. It was definitely much different than the material off of Marionettes. It also marked a striking shift in the band’s songwriting. Or at least I thought. But “Killjoy” basically sits apart from the rest of Assisted Living. It’s a fantastic song but quite frankly, it does not do Clair De Lune jusitice. It’s too simple…too hip…something that Clair De Lune is not.

While some of the music on Assisted Living might make you want to get up and move the lyrical imagery is anything but upbeat. Clair De Lune are experts in creating moods and they tend to focus on the darkness of the world. They do so brilliantly on their sophmore effort. The three vocal attack is still in full effect here. It’s a wonderful advantage Clair De Lune have over their peers. The title track, “Assisted Living” marks a return to the breathy atmospheres that loomed large at times on Marionettes. It’s quite possibly the band’s finest song to date as the dark lyrics grab a hold of you and simply will not let go. “Catapaults” has the same brooding feel as well. This is the sound that personifies Clair De Lune for me. The instrumental “Winning Over Grief And Sorrow” and the beautiful “XXXX” only reinforce the fact that this band deserves a better fate. “Criminal” and the hidden track end the album on a high note. Neither sounds a whole hell of a lot like what we expect from Clair De Lune but nonetheless shows the band’s tremendous range in songwriting. Assisted Living is certainly a contrasting listen but it is also a truly outstanding collection of songs.

Where Assisted Living does not measure up to Marionettes is in the overall cohesiveness of the album. Marionettes was a truly uniform album where songs merged into others with such ease. On Assisted Living, the band seems to be pulled in several different directions and while it makes for some nice variation it does take away from the overall feel of the album. Assisted Living is more of a transistion album as the band seems torn to find their true path. With that being said, it remains a fascinating record that shows even when a talented band is not quite sure where to go next, the songs that make up the journey are still pretty damn good. I just hope the band can complete that journey and make it to album #3. Fingers crossed!

RIYL: Sparta, No Knife, Minus The Bear

Listen:

Clair De Lune – Black Heart Charades (mp3)

Clair De Lune – Catapaults (mp3)

Clair De Lune – Assisted Living (mp3)

(You can stream the whole album here.)

www.myspace.com/clairdelune

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Responses

  1. […] those sentiments. The band also remind me of one of my favorite underrated bands of all time in Clair De Lune. I could just end the review right there and recommend but I’ll indulge you instead. History […]


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