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(Guilt Ridden Pop; US: 22 Aug 2011)

Cemented in their belief to play analog instruments without the aid of computers, Minnesota-based Claps are a trio with strong ideals. Channeling the ‘70s synth sounds of Depeche Mode and Joy Division, they perform minimalist measures with dark, foreboding themes, such as the brooding “Book of Life”, on which the singer laments about a relationship gone horribly wrong. “We’re burning pages in the book of love / Watch the embers fall / Tomorrow we will start from chapter one.” Though a little cliché, the lyrics seem less artificial due to the spacey keyboards and pistol-shot percussion that provide the sense of loss and desperation the story’s about. And that’s the defining characteristic of Claps; despite crescendos or bridges, they still maintain hooks in their simplicity. It only takes a little for them to say a lot, and for a band that’s only got 15 original tracks under its belt, that’s a damn good sign of artistry.


Matt has been reviewing for PopMatters for only a short while, but he's been obsessed with music ever since he started forming memories. He watches way more TV and Netflix than he ever reads, but when he does read, he reads Bill Simmons' Grantland. He contributes to MVREMIX, as well as writes for his own blog, He resides in Los Angeles.

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21 Nov 2010
With two EPs pointing the way to a promising full-length, here's hoping that Claps, armed with dead-of-winter beats and synths, produce one before the spring thaw.
7 Jun 2010
Claps goes back in time to the early '80s, but doesn't bring back anything we haven't heard before.
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