Class Actress – Rapprocher
It is a wonder that female-led lo-fi electronica ever dropped off the map, considering its popularity in the nineties. Interestingly enough, there seems to be a bit of resurgence for the genre, considering the reunions of groups such as Portishead and Lamb, some of the of the style’s most prominent exponents. Elizabeth Harper has clearly taken these influences in her stride on Class Actress’s debut LP, Rapprocher, using chilled out, synth beats driven by her full-bodied vocals.
Granted, the production side of the record is rooted in synth-pop similar to The Knife and their ilk, but the electronica influence is overtly present throughout the entire record, especially in the mellow tracks like Love Me Like You Used To, Prove Me Wrong and Missed. The strong point of this record, however, is the group’s ability to modernise the many retro sounds used in the songs, usually with their song structures. Limousine is a playful, almost sarcastic, throwback to the cheesier moments of 80s pop, of which there were many, using vocal harmonies and memorable hooks. There are plenty of catchy melodies too, with Harper’s voice coming across as a smooth companion to the unpredictable, and at times gritty, production.
Opening track and album highlight Keep You mixes a soft dance beat with an impressive vocal range and unforgettable chorus, which will hook you into the record in its opening seconds. The record closes with Let Me In, a haunting, synth-driven ballad that slowly brings in a complex beat, among various other layers, to close things on a strong note. This record will appeal to the indie-dance crowds that love their retro flavours, but it does so in a natural way, without seeming forced or desperate to conform to a trend. Class Actress are literally stuck in the wrong time period, but they have enough skill to make their music relevant, and as a result possibly even pioneering. They are kind of like the Back to the Future of pop music right now.