The Claudettes – The Claudettes Go Out!
This album gets off to a sparkling start with “A Lovely View,” which features the warm easy listening-low flame jazz vocals of Berit Ulseth who sings with an illuminating quality.
To get to know this band one listens to “A Lovely View,” which would suffice. Their tight approach to varied musical genres is adorned with no gimmicks, nothing superficial & everything suited to inspiring melodies & spirited lyrics. Berit’s vocals are luxurious with tonal precision.
The band rocks on “Dozing In the Crypt” with its rousing thunderclouds of music. The deep piano chords, thick bass & Berit’s ability to not just sing words but infuse them with the necessary hues make it interesting.
“Exposure,” is quite a departure from the other songs — dives deep into a melodic almost Devo & B-52s territory — that’s a borderline novelty with a whimsical upbeat recipe. This is the lone tune that doesn’t fit with the others. Those are diamonds – this is just an emerald. Polished enough to be something Fay Waybill & The Tubes, or Deaf School would do today. It does show that the band has a sense of humor.
These excellently arranged, performed & produced songs make up the 10-cut The Claudettes Go Out! (Drops Oct 14–Forty Below Records). The only thing that concerned me was the name of the LP. It could’ve been a bit more compelling. My first impression was this was a dance record, a 60s-inspired girl-group endeavor — but it’s not. It’s way better than that.
The music’s carefully articulated with an array of styles buttered up in the well-developed personality of The Claudettes. Recorded in Chicago, the varied tracks were mixed in L.A. & NYC. All songs were mastered in Edgewater, NJ of all places. The sound is pristine on this CD. A job well done. Mature & while it borders on sweet at times it never steps into that sugary puddle. Their expertise is sharp.
Performers with Beth are Zach Verdoorn (bass/bass VI/vocals), Michael Caskey (drums/percussion/ snapping & shouting) & Johnny Iguana (piano/keyboards/vocals/snapping). On “Park Bench” — Jim Cooper (string arrangements) Nora Barton (cello), Andra Kulans (viola) & Anthony Gravino (acoustic guitar).
The CD was produced by Grammy-award winners Ted Hutt, Kevin Killen & Grammy-nominated Anthony Gravino. Songs were written by Brian Berkowitz (aka Johnny Iguana).
The closer — the well-executed “The Show Must Go On (And Then The Show Must End),” with its fiery lead guitar puts a nice conclusion to the set.
Highlights – “A Lovely View,” “Park Bench,” “The American Sky,” “Dozing In the Crypt,” “Time Won’t Take Our Times Away,” “Cowboy,” & “The Show Must Go On (And Then The Show Must End).”
Color image copyright by Timothy Hiatt. CD @ https://theclaudettesmusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-claudettes-go-out + https://theclaudettes.com/