Clor - Clor

Bill Cummings 25/07/2005

Rating: 4/5

Welcome to the world of Clor: beguiling, unique and off kilter, they create crazy synth pop for the masses, but with a twist. This album bursts with original and fresh ideas, ideas that subvert the history of popular music. This album from 'Clor' is the sound of hundred Island monkeys dancing to a disco beat, the ghosts of Sparks, the Flaming Lips, Devo and Kraftwerk inhabiting a concoction of sounds with such a overwhelming dance-ability that at times the tunes explode out of your stereo and into the sky.

The album kicks off with 'Good stuff', that comes on with lo-fi Jackson 5 disco beats, before bursting into a exuberant chorus and tongue in cheeky lyrics. Second up is 'Outlines' sounding like Kraftwerk-esque robot beats, being battered around the head by indie melodies of Pavement, and it also contains a lyric in it's exultant chorus that sort of sums up the Clor aesthetic “Each of us is special in our own unique way.”

Next up is 'Love and Pain' one of the singles of the year so far, refreshing, exciting and brilliant this is what great pop music is all about. If bands like New Order and The Pet Shop Boys straddled the lines between dance and rock, Clor literally rip up the rule book and start again. Fuzzy guitar lines mix with propulsive squelching dance beats, and whilst the lyrics might concern heartbreak (“I was in Love but that was yesterday/Now I'm in Pain/I was the bird that burst the bee's and stole the honey.”) the bittersweet chorus takes off into super pop orbit: “Wide eyed and open mouthed you look a little lost and found!” by the end of this song I'm sweating and dancing like a madman, and you should be too.

Elsewhere 'Hearts on Fire' buzzes along, Barry's strangulated vocals are tagged by Luke's skewed guitars, and bouncing synths, it crashes from melodic complexity right back down to a simple melody, and it's simply exhilarating. Just when you think Clor might be over egging the crazy synth pop madness, they shift down gears. 'Gifted' is down tempo beauty; guitars and keys plink along in the background, sailing the magical line between the Beach Boys and the Flaming Lips, while Clor's very own Superman Barry sings like an angel with his eyes shut of the magical powers he's inherited - it's simply gorgeous. Bursting back with 'Stuck In A Tight Spot” Clor begin with a simple melody before mashing the up the gonzo electro sound to such a degree you wonder if they will ever return from outer space; but they do.

'Dangerzone' is stuttering electronica at its best. Dark beats and rhythmic guitars power this melodic beast along, its mantra like words pounding their way into your head “Lets gather momentum/Imagine you're driving/On pristine roads/Let's climb down from trees /Emerge from the river/Let's vacate the beaches/Or far distant shores/Emerge from the blackness/Into the blue blue day.” It's a contender for their next single.
'Magic Touch' recalls 'Sign Of The Times' era Prince, indeed there is even the creepy sexualisation of the lyrics (“I want to find out things about you/I want to keep my file updated/I want to put you in my scrapbook/I want to get to know each other.”).
'Garden of Love' sounds like some kind of 1970's retro keyboard TV theme tune, being twisted up and spat out, into a driving melody.
Album closer 'Goodbye' ends the album: it stutters along, in a sweet beguiling slightly haunted Beatles-esque way and while it's a farewell to this album, it's simply the end of the first chapter in Clor's history.

Created in a bedroom in Kennington in London by guitarist Luke Smith and vocalist Barry Dobbin, they weld beats to angular guitar shaped, craft crazy synth pop melodies, to ambiguous teasing provocative lyrics.. This is the world of Clor. Succumb to one of the best albums of the year so far.