Love Is Blind
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola
It seems as though only once in a generation that we are privy to a vocalist whose style is a combination of velvet softness and seductive abandon. Victoria Lloyd, lead singer for Claire Voyant, graces our ears with blessed vocals to rival many female singers in the underground or mainstream world for this generation. Her vocal contributions have also been included with Daniel Meyer’s (Haujobb) side project HMB and more recently with Mono Chrome, both of whom utilized her uncanny heartfelt delivery to adorn the sounds of some of today’s hottest industrial music.
“Love Is Blind” is the latest offering from the dedicated band, which is currently released through Metropolis Records. Similar in vein to another Metropolis artist, Rhea’s Obsession, Claire Voyant manage to color outside the expected parameters of hard driven industrial tones to create music that is at once comfortable in a home like setting as it is in a club. This present album is an amalgamation of various rhythms, from trip hop to drum and bass. Ben Fargen’s guitars and Chris Ross’ keyboard and programming skills continue to exceed expectations, as they are talented and intuitive musicians who help to round out this productively talented trio. The band remains a tightly knit family-like unit, something unheard of in the often-fractionated world of musicians and their erratic temperaments.
So what is the magic called Claire Voyant? Essentially it is the release of passionate talent that simply transcends the listener into another magical realm of sorts. Lloyd’s vocals clearly inspire any musician to want to deliver their best and wrap it around her voice in prismatic fashion. She turns a phrase or lilts a word that can simply break a heart or seduce a nation. Her forays into many side projects with some of the most outstanding artists in the goth/industrial underground is no small endeavor and clearly demonstrates her professional rapport and unique versatility as a vocalist.
The internet world was treated to a preview of the CD’s opening track, “Pieces” just prior to the release date. It is a wonderfully done trip hop song about relational disillusionment. In spite of the heartfelt sentiments of the song, it is also quite erotic.
“Twenty-four Years” follows with such a bittersweet tone that it is able to put a lump in your throat. The music cascades and breathes a life of its own. Unlike much of the goth styled darkness, this is the sound of one’s heart breaking set to music. Lloyd’s vocals simply push us over the edge with sentiment.
“Mirror” takes on an introspective parameter. It is a relational involvement where of passion vs. stagnation and expectations. There is more of an ingénue quality to this track where Lloyd embodies the young maiden who wakens from her reverie to realize that there are essences of herself that are changing. Some of these changes are acceptable while others are unnerving.
“Abyss” weaves with an angelic and ethereal quality accompanied with subtle drum and bass. This shimmers and twinkles like a starlit night in the Arctic region.
“Silence” comes back with a bit of a goth rock edge that merges with subtle hints of industrial and trip hop. There is much involutional introspection taking place. Lyrically we are guided to a snapshot in time of unrequited longing.
“He Is Here” takes the sounds and gently does a backward masking at the intro. We are swept into a moment of loving and uncovering lies and deceit. This is that forlorn time between learning something unsavory about one’s love and deciding to deal with it or just give up.
“Close To Me” is another bouncy track about being close with someone who seems to know us at our deepest levels but just seemingly out of reach. The tension is expertly delivered via twists of the music and the pushing of the vocals through a filter.
“Warm” asks to be taken to that that safe space, away from the gamut of pain. It pleads with the one we love to hold us during our darkest hours of insecurity.
“Not Like Me” has delicious blends of macabre
elements suffused around a rather sad trip hop/rock track of knowing it
is time to say goodbye.
Love songs have been the standards in the music industry for decades while songs of loss and longing have been more prevalent in the Goth underground. Rather than resorting to predictable mawkish elements of unrequited love, Claire Voyant took these songs and tossed them in a jar of bittersweet essence. Here, Lloyd cloaks herself in many robes requiring the listener to feel with the senses rather than understand things at face value. The majority of song reviews above intentionally avoided delivering too much of the “meaning” because this is work that the listener really needs to experience and interpret on a personal level. It is not unthinkable to imagine many listeners catching one lyrical line and finding it hits home on many subconscious levels. Anyone who has ever been in a loving relationship will find themselves somewhere amidst these 10 tracks.
Stylistically, the band has ventured into many sounds that actually fit with this recording. It is at once cohesive despite its diversity while never venturing too far afield to be out of place at any time. The sequencing is well laid out and carries us along from track to track in our own reverie. Lloyd’s uncanny ability to turn a phrase is stronger than ever that one would have to be completely heartless not to have any emotions evoked from this wonderful collection of tracks. There are a number of surprise hybrids that can easily find themselves included on club playlists, so it isn’t all created just for the music cogitators out there. Many kudos to the entire band for moving ahead with a creative approach, which pays homage to some of the more popular underground sounds while still keeping them fresh and original.
Sound samples also available at: