Review : Class Actress - Rapprocher
PitchforkThe musical past of Elizabeth Harper, the frontwoman for Brooklyn electronic pop outfit Class Actress, is fairly well-documented-- it's something even the band doesn't attempt to hide. And yet, with the arrival of Class Actress's debut full-length, Rapprocher, that past seems worth pointing out again, if only to illustrate the drastic turn her career's taken over the past eight or so years. In 2004, years before Class Actress came into existence, Harper released a self-titled solo album of singer/songwriter-y material with no spangly synths. Even if what she was doing then wasn't terribly compelling, you get the impression she valued substance over style. Skip to five years later when Harper linked up with producer Mark Richardson (no relation to Pitchfork's editor-in-chief) and engineer/multi-instrumentalist Scott Rosenthal for Class Actress' debut EP, Journal of Ardency, and you can almost hear her sonically relocating from open-mic night culture to cool, cosmopolitan glam-- in other words, from one part of Manhattan to, well, another part of Manhattan. (Even if they do call themselves a Brooklyn band, the truth is that Class Actress have never sounded like they're from Brooklyn.)
The cover of Rapprocher brings that transformation full circle: witness Harper, lying on white sheets, mugging seductively for the camera with something awfully sparkly hiding behind her ear. It's a glamorous image, and besides being incredibly reminiscent of the cover art for Bryan Ferry's solo album from last year, Olympia, it's an excellent representation of how Rapprocher sounds-- that is, luxurious and picture-perfect in presentation. The somewhat shy intimacy that marked Journal of Ardency is more or less gone, replaced by bright, layered production. (If Richardson and Rosenthal ever decide to ditch the band thing to become for-hire studio rats, they'll have little trouble finding work.) The synth work on Rapprocher is particularly impressive, maintaining a tangy sharpness while a pop sweetness flows from every corner....full text
SpinChillwave never had much of a female presence, but Brooklyn's Class Actress aim to change that. Last year's self-released Journal of Ardency EP showcased a Knife-like swarm of keyboards and singer Elizabeth Harper's way with a smoke-curling hook, especially on the menacingly sexy title tune. Nothing on this full-length debut is so insidious, though several tracks come close (the lusty "Hangin' On," the upper-register calisthenics of "Keep You"). "Weekend" burns brightest, gushing, "You make me late for church," before the chorus is slimed over by an ocean of synths....full text
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