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The Claudettes - High Times in the Dark

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High Times in the Dark

The Claudettes

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High Times in the Dark opens with an ornate piano run from chief Claudette Johnny Iguana, a flourish that brings to mind Steve Nieve's work with the Attractions, particularly on Elvis Costello's Trust. It's a dramatic progression from the gleefully grimy blues-and-boogie that characterized earlier albums by the Claudettes, a bit of flair that brings the group's self-definition of "garage cabaret" into sharp relief, and that's even before vocalist Berit Ulseth has sung her first note. The rest of that song, "Bad Babe, Losin' Touch," proceeds with a stylish, deliberate swagger that sets the tone for the carnival that follows. High Times in the Dark is filled with clever, soulful rock & roll that's rooted in blues, jazz, and R&B but veers toward classic pop: music that's designed to be played in the heart of the night but is snappy and catchy enough to shine brightly during the day. Working with producer Ted Hutt, the Claudettes have sharpened their aesthetic and Johnny Iguana (aka Brian Berkowitz) has tightened his writing, a refinement that helps Ulseth command attention with her lithe vocals. She plays with her phrasing like a jazz singer but keeps her focus on the stories of the songs, sounding as convincing on the MeToo takedown "Declined" as she does on the sly rocker "Grandkids, Wave Bye-Bye." It all adds up to a vibrant listening experience, one that feels fresh even as it flirts with the past.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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High Times in the Dark

The Claudettes

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1
Bad Babe, Losin' Touch
00:02:50

The Claudettes, MainArtist - Brian Berkowitz, Composer

2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license 2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license

2
24/5
00:03:22

The Claudettes, MainArtist - Brian Berkowitz, Composer

2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license 2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license

3
I Swear to God, I Will
00:03:44

The Claudettes, MainArtist - Brian Berkowitz, Composer

2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license 2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license

4
Creeper Weed
00:02:33

The Claudettes, MainArtist - Brian Berkowitz, Composer

2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license 2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license

5
Grandkids, Wave Bye-Bye
00:03:28

The Claudettes, MainArtist - Brian Berkowitz, Composer

2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license 2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license

6
One Special Bottle
00:02:53

The Claudettes, MainArtist - Brian Berkowitz, Composer

2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license 2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license

7
Declined
00:02:42

The Claudettes, MainArtist - Brian Berkowitz, Composer

2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license 2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license

8
I Don't Do That Stuff Anymore
00:04:35

The Claudettes, MainArtist - Brian Berkowitz, Composer

2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license 2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license

9
Most Accidents Happen
00:02:59

The Claudettes, MainArtist - Brian Berkowitz, Composer

2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license 2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license

10
You Drummers Keep Breaking My Heart
00:04:31

The Claudettes, MainArtist - Brian Berkowitz, Composer

2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license 2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license

11
The Sun Will Fool You
00:04:03

The Claudettes, MainArtist - Brian Berkowitz, Composer

2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license 2020 OM God Music Released by Forty Below Records under exclusive license

Album Description

High Times in the Dark opens with an ornate piano run from chief Claudette Johnny Iguana, a flourish that brings to mind Steve Nieve's work with the Attractions, particularly on Elvis Costello's Trust. It's a dramatic progression from the gleefully grimy blues-and-boogie that characterized earlier albums by the Claudettes, a bit of flair that brings the group's self-definition of "garage cabaret" into sharp relief, and that's even before vocalist Berit Ulseth has sung her first note. The rest of that song, "Bad Babe, Losin' Touch," proceeds with a stylish, deliberate swagger that sets the tone for the carnival that follows. High Times in the Dark is filled with clever, soulful rock & roll that's rooted in blues, jazz, and R&B but veers toward classic pop: music that's designed to be played in the heart of the night but is snappy and catchy enough to shine brightly during the day. Working with producer Ted Hutt, the Claudettes have sharpened their aesthetic and Johnny Iguana (aka Brian Berkowitz) has tightened his writing, a refinement that helps Ulseth command attention with her lithe vocals. She plays with her phrasing like a jazz singer but keeps her focus on the stories of the songs, sounding as convincing on the MeToo takedown "Declined" as she does on the sly rocker "Grandkids, Wave Bye-Bye." It all adds up to a vibrant listening experience, one that feels fresh even as it flirts with the past.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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