With big boned rhythmic seduction and even more tempting melodic suggestiveness, the debut album from Chantal Claret is one delicious romp of sixties pop and modern insatiable inventive hunger, a release which makes the term having a good time as a description seem rudely limiting. The former vocalist for the excellent Morningwood, Claret has crafted her own soulful and enchanting not forgetting vivacious sound, into a larger than life treat which brings femme-pop from five decades ago in a feisty and thrilling union with attitude drenched indie pop. Think Imelda May meets Brenda Lee with strong whispers of Wanda Jackson, Gwen Stefani, and at times essences of Brody Dalle’s Spinnerette, and you get the unique presence of Chantal Claret. The One, The Only… is an album which has feet and emotions pumping in time and passion with the forthright sounds it offers, a release which quite simply and persistently thrills with each and every enthralling note.
The One, The Only… is something very different from anything Morningwood unveiled though there is still a visible thread between the two due to the stand alone vocals of Claret who arguably upon her first full length solo release has found an even richer and expansive depth to her tone and delivery. Following up the acclaimed Pleasure Seekers EP whose four tracks also grace this album, the new release dances with the passions and ear to send a rapture marauding through the body like a tide of raucous melodic energy which ebbs and flows yet never leaves anything less than captivated seduction roaming its presence.
The opening intro introduces the artist like you would have found at an authentic live performance or TV show of the sixties, or so my Dad told me… an audience excited and drooling as the artist takes her spot in their eager spotlight. It leads right into the muscular rhythms and initial crafty tease of Bite Your Tongue, a song which sways with devilment whilst coaxing the passions into its instantly infectious embrace. The rhythms continue to dominate from the drums and bass, even in its quietest lure, whilst the keys add smokey whispers to stand side by side with the blaze of horns. It is a terrific start with a female snarl and wile to its magnetic temptation.
The thrilling start continues with Pleasure Seekers, a track which has the fire of the band of the same name in the sixties and the gentle pop artfulness of Nancy Sinatra, through the contagious Pop Pop Bang Bang and on to This Time. The second of the trio is one of the highest pinnacles, its arrival on a nursery rhyme like coaxing opening moving into a riveting stroll of woman scorned devilry with accompanying violent intent. Not the most involved song in its construction but certainly the most dramatically mesmeric and energetic, the track enlists the listener into its revengeful mischief with enigmatic craft and arcane breath. The third of the trio leads the senses into a wealth of bulging rhythms and enchanted melodies coated in a sinister design which sparks an ardour as potent as the sacrificial seduction of a siren, both inescapable and unrelenting.
Arguably there is a constant surface shine and glow to the songs which shades the variety at work initially but with songs like the Crystals/Yeah Yeah Yeahs prompting No Love Lost and the Aretha Franklin/Gwen Stefani call to arms of Real Girls and their curves and swerves, any similarity in the coating is soon dispelled with their individual voices, the latter of these two a hip hop/pop fusion which makes it impossible not to hungrily enlist in its cause.
Further flames of pleasure come with the fifties gaited Black Widow, a song which is as tricky as it is insatiable, its aural tongue licking its lips as it seizes the heart with the appetite of its subject. The Mari Wilson sounding Honey Honey stands alongside the song as another real high point its sixties energetic kiss from keys and passionate vocals leaving thoughts and emotions into unbridled mischief before handing over to the excellent Song For The Sinners, the best song on the album. It stomps with guileful invitation and addictive charisma whilst the licking flames of the again irresistible horns incite further temptation into its cute yet dangerous heart.
The One, The Only… is an outstanding album which guarantees nothing but full and breath-taking pleasure, and who could want to share those moments with anyone other than the temptress Chantal Claret.
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