After the success of ‘Pretty Girl’, hopes were high for Clairo’s debut album, Immunity, and Katy Henderson promises those hopes were definitely exceeded.
It’s safe to say that Clairo has her own style. However, it’s clear that her approach as a musician has transformed and matured for the new album. Chilled lo-fi beats still form the basis for the tracks, but there are elements unique from her previous works, such as choirs, twinkly piano, subtle synths and airy guitar riffs. The heightened complexity of production creates an elevated, more polished version of her unintentional ‘bedroom-pop’ style. In spite of the sonic shift, the tracks combine to create something still simple enough to stay true to the uniquely calming energy of her work.
Melodies are charmingly simple, which almost gives a conversational, candid feel. This is particularly interesting due to the nature of the lyrics, which often discuss the artist’s personal struggles, such as sexuality in the catchiest song of the album, ‘Sofia’; it could be an attempt to pour her feelings out intimately with the listener. However, while there is a clear newfound confidence in her vocal performances, lyrics are still performed in a laid-back style, her intonation making some lyrics hard to make out. While it is a shame that these messages are not always put forward effectively, the effortlessness of the vocals compliment the chilled production beautifully, and add to the calm vibe of the album.
Despite little variation in style, the album is by no means monotonous. The melancholy, synth-heavy opener ‘Alewife’ sets a chilled, airy tone that permeates through the tracks. However, ‘Alewife’ also provides a welcome contrast to the more upbeat following track, ‘impossible’. This pattern is frequent throughout, with slower tracks being broken up by more upbeat ones, providing just enough variety to keep things interesting. The closing track, ‘I Wouldn’t Ask You’, provides a stunning climax, with building of vocals and more prominent production.
Whether Clairo is your typical musical preference or not, the album is so calming and unique that it’s impossible to dislike. This is the kind of no-frills, easy-listening that one can turn to in any situation.