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CLARE LOUISE

Prog Folk • France


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Clare Louise biography
CLARE LOUISE is a French guitarist and vocalist currently living in Belgium. She began composing and playing folk music in her teens, influenced by the likes of American folk revivalists BOB DYLAN, JONI MITCHELL and NEIL YOUNG. Originally a soloist, Louise added a pair of fellow musicians to form a trio in 2011.

>> Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth) <<

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BalloonsBalloons
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$36.40


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CLARE LOUISE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Castles in the Air
2011
2.95 | 2 ratings
Balloons
2014

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0.00 | 0 ratings
Clare Louise
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sea Song/La Moisson (w/Le Yéti)
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bare Tales
2012

CLARE LOUISE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Balloons by LOUISE, CLARE album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.95 | 2 ratings

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Balloons
Clare Louise Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars If the rhythms and accompaniment of "Balloons" occasionally steer CLARE LOUISE towards alt rock more than on her debut, and even her enunciation approaches the conventional, she appears to have found a middle ground between pop conformity and folk subversity. As before, her strength is in steering memorable, accessible melodies into less familiar patterns, and doing so with an eternally fragile voice that sounds like she couldn't swallow all the water she needed to grease her gears. Kind of like a Euro folk-prog half sister to IRIS DEMENT, and almost as backwoodsy.

Two similarly titled songs are both highlights: the organ suffused dirge of "I Don't Know this Place", and the more singer songwriter inspired "I Don't Sleep Anymore", into which deliberate electric chords are planted. leaving faintly martial percussion in the shade. The sweet ballad "You'll Alway be my Love" sounds like it is built upon ukelele or at least mandolin, but again as it builds the keyboards and more constant drumming affirm the bolder style.

Unfortunately, tracks like "Both Moods" and "Somewhere Else" could be by almost anyone, and even some vaguely evocative horns and strings don't fully salvage the dreary "Where I come From". Luckily there is "Impossible Road" rising like a sunflower on the back 40, thanks partly to Louise's homage to her voice coach towards the end, and "Sweet Blue" welcomes 1960s pop in an authentic manner. We are still treated to sumptuous string arrangements that recall those by Robert Kirby via NICK DRAKE and even some later BLONDEL.

The irresistible flow of Louise's debut is missing here but I still found a lot to like. Sophomore jinx? Or the initial blown kisses of a slow deflation? Stay tuned.

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 Castles in the Air by LOUISE, CLARE album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Castles in the Air
Clare Louise Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars While folk musicians are a prolific and plentiful lot, both in the mainstream and progressive worlds their popularity is easily eclipsed by almost any other subgenre. When a new folk artist emerges, we need a language to describe what they offer, and part of that language comprises comparisons to other, nearly as obscure artists. Such allusions are generally inadequate if not unfair for most performers, but one would argue more so for folk music, which more than most styles relies on utter personal commitment to one's unique voice at the cost of even meager recognition. Much folk and prog folk nonetheless falls well short of this benchmark, but such is not the case for Belgian based French singer/songwriter/guitarist Clare Louise on her full length debut.

One can easily be misled into believing that this is all about her voice, a fragile and gently piercing siren in which whole words are masticated before being presented for audition in a manner to redden the cheeks of a certain VAN MORRISON. I know the French accent has to be in there somewhere given her chosen language of communication is English, but the rest of her machinations occlude that assessment. As the endearingly vulnerable folk songs and inventive melodies meander by at varying tempos, one can appreciate the succinctness of her acoustic guitar style, but ultimately the reward for most of us is the slightly freaked out yet spare chamber folk arrangements of guest musicans on accordion and various strings, recalling NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA and others who seem to be establishing a new style. Sure, comparisons to KATE BUSH, DOLORES O'RIORDAN (CRANBERRIES) and other alt divas will be drawn up, but these are only peripherally accurate and don't do justice to the innovation at work. My preferred, and again, inadequate reference is the angst ridden Canadian FERRON's early 1980s albums.

The upbeat "This Dance" with its bouncy rhythm and layered vocals and the circus on a Parisian sidewalk accordion of "Black Stars" are delightful. The stark statements of "False Mirror" make me think of the wispy delicacy of another Canadian, GARFIELD FRENCH, circa "Strange Streets". But a well sequestered British folk influence should not be ignored, and "You Don't Know my Name" shows Louise at her more assertive in a manner of a manic MADDY PRIOR - it's also one of the most progressive tracks here.

Clare Louse manages to be both decidedly weird and accessible at the same time, and thankfully I sense no contrivance at play. Lovely cover by the way. Too bad it's folk.

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Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition.

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