Enactor by ClaudeRelease date: February 12, 2021
Label: Side Hustle / The Orchard
Chicago-based dream pop artist Claude (Claudia Ferme) delves into themes of alienation and distancing on her new EP Enactor. Everyone has been through the same awful, bad, horrible year, and she explores these ideas on this release. Interesting fact: Ferme started writing these songs before the pandemic during her last year of college. She claims Joni Mitchell and Weyes Blood as major influences. I can especially hear the Weyes Blood influence, always a good thing!
‘Screen’ is the first single, and it explores how lonely social media and Internet communication can be in general. It’s a lovely set piece, and the uncluttered musical framework and leisurely pace keeps you at arm’s length, even while it hammers home its point. I can imagine Claude with a bare bones band performing this in an intimate club, and maybe some day I will get to see her perform.
‘Everything’s Great’ is deceptive, in that on the surface it sounds upbeat, even while the lyrics bring you down. It also explores the overuse of electronic devices. When Claude says something is great, you know she means the opposite. In other words, I interpret this as even while the world is falling down around you, we can bury our heads and just ignore what is happening. A sad testament of our times.
‘In Limbo’ travels the same musical path as vintage Galaxie 500, with a minimalist approach and a plaintive vocal. “The sun still shines if I cry” sums up the feeling that despite our collective losses, the world still spins and the sun still rises every day. I certainly have felt caged up and in a bit of personal stasis. Who the heck knows what will happen in the next year? The instrumentation picks up layers and the song continues its unhurried pace, pretty and stark all at once.
‘Fantasy’ is another lovely song, and dream pop fans will latch onto it. It may also appeal to sadcore listeners, because most of the sentiments here are a bit bleak. Title track ‘Enactor’ benefits from Claude’s direct approach, simple arrangements, and sharply drawn lyrics, which defines most of this release. ‘Reality’ is sprightly by comparison with the other five songs, and I think it is my favorite track. It closes down this intriguing release that is in lockstep with the events of the past year. For all fans of minimalist dream pop and indie rock.