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Lateness of the Hour Import
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The Lateness Of The Hour
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Limited edition includes on bonus track: A cover of the Prince classic 'When Doves Cry'. 2012 album from the British singer/songwriter. Produced by Diplo [M.I.A., Madonna], Too Close is a potent and powerful anthem that properly introduces the world to this enigmatic singer and songwriter. It elegantly fuses pop, electronic, and garage with tangible touches of soul. The song's thumping bass morphs into a dubstep-infused break as CLARE elegantly croons an irresistible refrain. That chorus echoes a myriad of feelings, and it's already resonating with the world. Given it's poignant heft and vivid lyrics, the track proved to be the perfect companion for Microsoft's new advertisement about Internet Explorer's ability to connect people.
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Now, there are many reviews who will tell you that Clare's sound resembles what would happen if Adele took a heap of testosterone pills and added in wobble effects for the heck of it. While this provides a basic description, I think Clare's sound goes a bit deeper than that when you look at the tracks outside "Too Close". The dubstep aspects are there, but they rarely take center stage. Instead, they hang in the background, like a bassist in a rock band. They provide a sort of icing on the cake that is the rhythm without themselves becoming the melody.
As far as a complete package, however, the first 7 songs in my opinion make the album purchase worthy. I felt that the last 3 seemed to blend into each other too much and they really needed an aggressive upbeat song to punctuate them, but perhaps Clare will take notes from that on his next release.
Overall, it's an 8/10 album. It's an indie artist who never delves into the infectious pretension and indulgence of others, and I heartily recommend this to music lovers both hardcore and casual.
At this point, Clare is most famous for his song appearing in a commercial. The lead single "Too Close" has been featured in Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 advertisement. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the attention that the commercial seems to be gaining is more due to the music than the actual advertisement. The song is quite characteristic of the album in many ways: the focus is on Clare's lyrics and soulful vocals. The melody is at the forefront of the song -- the electronic and dubstep instrumentation takes a backseat to the melody. Opening track "Up All Night" uses a tribal and rhythmic chant to propel it through its running time; it's one of the hardest hitting tracks on the album. "Treading Water" sounds similar to "Too Close," -- the dubstep influence is certainly clear -- but it's a great song in its own right. "Hands Are Clever" serves as a highlight for me; it's a track that flirts with R&B instrumentation and shoots for the moon with its catchy hook. The final track "I Won't Let You Down" is probably the most traditional of the tracks here. It's composed of Clare's vocals and an accompanying piano; it's a bare and organic ending to an album that feels slickly produced.
What bounds Clare's album together is his intense and soulful vocal delivery. I would recommend THE LATENESS OF THE HOUR to listeners interested in alternative music -- there's plenty of material here for people to love. The album is an incredibly enjoyable listen that proves to be remarkably consistent. Essential tracks to sample/download: "Too Close," "Hands Are Clever," and "Up All Night." Don't miss out on this album.
While `Too Close' certainly got our attention, it is in the softer, quieter moments that this album truly shines. Songs like `Relax My Beloved' and `Whispering' allow Clare to develop a deeper sound and more personal connection through the subtle music and his entrancing tone. Songs like `Up All Night' and `Humming Bird' develop the rock sound Clare is trying to establish (a notch below `Too Close' with catchier elements) and they prove successful as a whole. `Hands Are Clever' breaks up what feels like an almost too routine sound with some jazzy Southern charm. But there is where my main complaint for this album lies; it does sound very `matchy matchy'. The album sounds so `put together' with almost every track leading into the next with a sound that is very similar. While I understand that this can be a plus (at least it doesn't feel disjointed) it can also lead to a feeling of monotony. It doesn't help that some songs, namely `Tightrope', feel devoid of life.
Still, the highs here are worthy of note and really, Alex Clare does offer something interesting to modern music. His vocals have a very aged soulful sound, and his musical direction has a very modern progressive pop rock sound, so marrying the two together can produce something interesting. I look forward to where his career takes him. Despite some aforementioned issues (and the way he says `Sanctuary') I actually like this album, at least in parts, and recommend taking a peak!