Face The Strange
Clare Quilty’s latest album, Face The Strange, begins promisingly enough with “Sad Untitled,” a seductive trip-hop nod to the days of Morcheeba and Kelly Dayton-era Sneaker Pimps. After that, the Charlottesville four-piece slowly unravels as it straddles various genres, from dance-pop to Top 40-tinged rock.
Moving from the edgier, raucous sound of its previous effort, Strong, Quilty opts for a polished, genre-hopping affair here. But within this genre-defying record, the consistency remains to be seen. Intriguing goth-techno numbers like “+810+” are sullied by messy Garbage impressions like “Numb.” Lead singer Jenn Rhubright’s vocals are more prevalent here, which can be both intoxicating (on the Portishead-lite “Sister” and the slow burning cover of “Rebel Rebel”) and annoying (as on the Kylie-esque “Glitterbug”).
It’s not certain as to who’s dictating the direction of this band, but its more alluring, original moments are being left by the wayside. They’re at a delicate crossroads, having to choose between maintaining relevance or being relegated to main street bar band status. If I can be so bold as to beat a metaphor to death: follow the yellow brick road where Blonde Redhead-esque songs like “Beautiful Lies” await, and ignore the murky forest where inane, ironic songs like “Tormented Artist” will merely ruin you.
Clare Quilty: www.clarequilty.com