[3 October 2013]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Listening to the debut EP from up-and-coming German five piece Claire (which is comprised of three (!) producers, one drummer and one female vocalist) is a little like hearing what Canada’s Broken Social Scene might sound like if that band went in Arcade Fire’s current direction and ditched the orchestrated bombast in favor of some good ol’ fashioned dance beats. There’s certainly a great deal of gloss and ambition on the Broken Promise Land EP, and these five songs are, indeed, “Anthems for a 17 Year-Old Girl”. Sounding a little like Giorgio Moroder updated for the 21st century, Claire offers peppy, though slightly darkly hued, European electro that will have everyone but the most jaded up on their feet with their Reeboks gliding across the dance floor.
Despite the slightly dark tones musically, Broken Promise Land is remarkably upbeat: “We are so in-vin-ci-ble!” goes one track that invites you to pump the air with your fist and sing along. In fact, there is not one duff track to be found on the entire EP: the opener and title track glistens in neon night light and offers the perfect soundtrack to driving alone in a dark city. But as good as that cut is, follow-up “Games” is even better. With its acid house blips and beats, vocalist Josie Claire Bürkle coos, “It’s alright / As long as I can be with you” in a wholly appealing and stark manner. It deserves to be a huge hit. And the rest of the disc follows with catchy song after catchy song. “Pioneers” percolates with a thudding keyboard frenzy, the perfect soundtrack to a racing video game, while “Invincible” is undeniably earworm worthy, and sounds like it could have come out of the mid-‘80s. (Its verses sound like something the xx might glacially pull off.) Finally, “Set Out with Me” ends the short album on a stellar note as it simmers with a chrome-hued sheen. All in all, the Broken Promise Land EP is far from broken – it may just very well be one of the best pieces of dance pop you’ll hear all year.