Most recognise Clairo from her viral hit ‘Pretty Girl’, and its iconic accompanying video of her dancing aimlessly to a laptop camera in her bedroom. This was the world’s introduction to Clairo’s soft voice and delicate songwriting, which her debut, Immunity, builds on with tasteful restraint and subtlety. Immunity proves definitively that Clairo has moved past the bedroom pop sound which launched her to fame, now achieving a more mature sound with a slightly different direction.
Joined by former Vampire Weekend member Rostam as the record’s producer and assisted by Danielle Haim on drums, Immunity contains various new influences. These are mostly successful, with the beats hitting harder and the melodies sounding much more memorable than her previous work. The album opens with the mellow ‘Alewife’, a soft record with soulful piano lines and rhythmic acoustic guitar.
While both the instrumentation and vocal performance do leave more to be desired, the album’s opener serves to show the maturity in Clairo’s songwriting, with her singing about someone who supported her through her self-doubt and suicidal impulses. Clairo’s adventurous experimentation on this album is evident throughout, but it shows itself most in the track ‘Closer To You’. With a trap beat, a synth bassline in the background, and a heavily processed vocal performance, the song definitely hits its stride with the soaring harmonies in the chorus.
‘Bags’ exhibits indie rock elements, with satisfying drum breaks between its hypnotic synth melodies and grungy guitars. ‘Sofia’ sees Clairo exploring her sexuality over guitars and a beat reminiscent of The Strokes. Tracks like ‘Softly’ and ‘Sinking’ show Clairo’s arguably inevitable experiment with RnB elements, with moody guitar riffs and playful piano passages.
Overall, Immunity sees Clairo move past her bedroom pop sound, exploring other musical avenues to build on in a mostly successful manner. The final product is a polished, well-written, and overall enjoyable album that will leave many waiting for her next project.
Image: Michael Abshear