Clair De Lune – Marionettes (CD)

Wielding their instruments with the finest precision, Minnesota’s Clair De Lune play a version of “emo” that goes beyond the simple cliché guitar/bass/drum lines and melodramatic lead singer; rather, all music laid down on “Marionettes” was created for the purpose of furthering the emotions held out by Justin and Adam’s vocals. What is exciting on this disc is the ability of Clair De Lune to go and about-face, pulling all their armies from one general sound and pushing them in the diametrically opposite direction. The early instrumental track, “Twenty Threes”, is Classical in its piano-style, sounding more like a track inspired by “One Hour Photo” or “The Ring”. Incredibly introspective, “Twenty Three” is a track that will make one find themselves blade in hand, almost ready to take the final cut. That is how strong of a track it is. One of Clair De Lune’s strongest traits is the ability to work within a popular paradigm and yet not sound similar even in the slightest to the other bands in the genre. “Machinegun Lipstick” is a clear candidate for the most polemic of their tracks, solidifying their innovative nature with rich instrumentation and an attention span so short that they could not even force themselves into repetition.

Walking dangerously near Franz Ferninand in the ever-changing “Blue Ribbon”, Clair De Lune makes the track ultimately memorable with the same drum/guitar interplay that “Take Me Out” did for the aforementioned FF. Using reversed or extremely distorted guitars for “Relapse”, Clair De Lune is able to create a mini-epic in the five minutes they have allotted. Always dead-on with their arrangements, Clair De Lune are the example of a band that is wise beyond their years, making an album in “Marionettes” that will be seen as the “Candy Apple Grey” of the new millennium.

Tendrils of music wide their way through a listeners’ brain, never once letting go in the slightly-under forty minute runtime of the disc. Never letting the slightest weakness through, Justin, Tom, Adam, John, and Ben are the ultimate in what Deep Elm offers, running neck and neck with Desert City Soundtrack. “Marionettes” is an album that can stand to repeated listenings, and while Clair De Lune doesn’t opt for the sheer repeatability of lyrics like a Coheed or Taking Back Sunday would, they involve their listeners in a much more heartfelt way.

Top Tracks: Sailor Beware, Twenty Threes

Rating: 8.6/10

Clair De Lune – Marionettes / 2004 Deep Elm / 10 Tracks / http://www.deepelm.com/bands/index_clair.html / http://www.deepelm.com / Reviewed 16 July 2004

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