[21 November 2010]
No Party, the latest EP from Minneapolis three-piece Claps, uses razor-sharp drum beats and keyboards to cut through a thick sheet of ice. Like the band’s debut EP New Science, released in January, No Party takes its musical recipe from Depeche Mode’s moodier electropop but trims the guitar fat. The band’s minimalist sound will make you shiver and shake your hips. No Party opens with “Lost”. “I see why they call this home / I understand the feeling of being alone,” sings Patrick Donohoe, adding layers of frost to hypnotic synth lines. “Game Undone” is the album’s gem. Atop a scintillating backbeat, Donohoe muses, “Can we bury the hatchet on the promise that we’ve made so long ago?” Using the same formula employed on New Science, tracks four, five and six are remixes of the EP’s first three songs. Gay Beast and Nyteowl provide renditions of “Red Dress”, while Sovietpanda takes a stab at “Lost.” Gay Beast’s remix stumbles out of the gate and at times sounds like boss-level theme music for an 80s Nintendo game. Nyteowl finds success by staying more faithful to the original track, giving it a second coat of new wave polish. Sadly, “Game Undone” misses out on the remix treatment, an omission that puts a dent on the EP as a whole, but only a small one. With two EPs pointing the way to a promising full-length, here’s hoping that Claps, armed with its dead-of-winter beats and synths, produce one before the spring thaw.