Music is always about escape. Escape from the adversities of all facets of daily life; from problems and fears, whose translation into comprehensible music can offer so much comfort in hard times; from the everyday madness of life itself, whose challenging nature we often only feel strong enough to face when we have a considerate, musical companion of sound and lyrics at our side. Claire have created such a music companion with their debut album “The Great Escape”; a playful soundtrack for the uncertainties of the here and now, and a visionary musical escape from the nasty clutches of everyday life.
The five-piece band originated in Munich, where Messel and Nepomuk worked together in a studio. A short time later, the two met Flo on a production job. “The chemistry between us was right straight away, so we got together and started making music,” Nepomuk recalls. After the first few commissioned works, the desire to create pieces for their own project emerged. The birth of Claire.
Looking for a suitable vocalist, Flo remembered an old party acquaintance: Josie. “I contacted her over Facebook and asked if she wanted to come by, and she did,” Flo grins, describing the situation. “When she started to sing, we all just looked at each other and thought: Awesome! This is it.” All they needed then was a drummer for powerful live performances of their songs. This is where Fridl came into play, someone Flo still knew from his time in the Munich metal-core scene. Claire was complete.
The escape that provides the title of “The Great Escape” is a component that finds itself on several levels of the 13 songs on this debut album. A running theme of the record is breaking out of the daily grind and exhausting the untapped potential that lies dormant within each and every one of us. At the same time, the title expresses a self-fulfilling prophecy leading to the start of a new life for the five band members. “The title also describes the escape from the studio, where we spent six months sitting around without seeing any daylight,” Messel laughs, summarising their relief over the completion of the gruelling production process.
From the dark basement studio to the spotlight. How fitting that the band likes to classify their musical mix of post-pop, indie and electro as neon-pop. “Our lyrics make use of a very strong visual language. Colours are an expression of different moods,” says singer Josie. Consequently, Claire paint situations using musical elements, draw darkly coloured sonic pictures of emotions, and visualise the neon contradiction of their cold musical aesthetic and singer Josie’s warming words.
The best example of this is the grandiose advance single “Games”, a driving mid-tempo number with a whole galaxy of emotions hidden away within its orchestrated simplicity. Comfort meets grief and hope meets melancholy, always in the knowledge that the most insignificant moment can change a whole life. Everything will be fine as long as your world is completed by the love of another person.
Claire celebrate the duality of things a little differently in “The Next Ones To Come”, a fragile ode to dancing on a volcano; an opulent musical tightrope above the seething abyss of fear and despair, which the band calmly masters by singing about the feverish fallibility of the universe.
This makes “The Great Escape” the perfectly designed expression of a mature and adult understanding of pop, an understanding which no longer views the “pop music” label as an insult. A healthy adolescence in the underground has given Claire the necessary traction to clearly distinguish themselves from slick, plastic pop acts, and lines the band up alongside acts such as James Black or the xx.
The hidden colours and contrasts you’ll find in the harmonies of the 13 songs on “The Great Escape” turn the album into a neon-coloured look at the future of local pop music. Claire’s debut album is a musical exclamation mark signifying the end of pop music arbitrariness, and setting an escape route which will become the new starting point. For music. For pop. For Claire.