‘Soft, I will say it softly’, Clara Mann opens on ‘Thoughtless’. The lyric encapsulates this, her debut EP via Sad Club Records. Plaintive, classic “almost folk”, quiet, private and intimate, ‘Consolations’ has an almost pictorial quality. You see yourself in the world Mann creates. It’s almost as if you stand sadly with her as she sings how ‘in my growing garden I planted things my way, I filled a bed with green, while I was asking you to stay”, on ‘Waiting For the Flight’, a relationship retrospective which traces melancholy through a mournful violin line which dances around Mann’s voice.
‘Thoughtless’ is a beautiful, sad moment. Again, it’s as like you are in it with her, your heart breaking as hers does; “When you name the things you love I am the spaces in between. I am a voice without a reason. You’d like to hear an answer, but I think I want to leave..” This is a debut swaddled in sadness and the more often you listen, the closer it brings you to tears. Mann’s voice too has a lure that grows with each listening, becoming more familiar, more emotionally intricate each time.
‘Station Song’ follows the same thoughtful, guitar-picked approach, this time with a second, delicate vocal harmony. Again it’s like being there, sitting lonely on a platform wondering about being somewhere else, someone else. “I didn’t leave, though I wish that I had… And out on the roof can we both speak of loss, and the ache in my chest or the crack in your voice…” This is moving, and precise stuff which Mann somehow writes in a way that makes it feel like you are welcome in these intimacies, when it could so easily have felt like intrusion.
‘I Didn’t Know You Were Leaving Today’ – steeped in heartbreak and intimacy – has an almost lullaby quality. Invited into Mann’s world, you feel yourself there; it’s like a soothing hand on a warm forehead. There’s subtle, clever poetry to the writing; “That white dress you liked, I turned it blue overnight” is a particular gem; the turn in the journey from romance, the sadness in its nostalgia. “When it all gets too much for you, drop me a line. I’ll welcome you in, arms wide”’, ”If I’m driving I’ll drive you away”.
‘Consolations’ is a little gift of an EP. Simple, pure, quiet, and driven by genuine lyrical quality, (‘Inside me is a smoker looking for a fight’ is a particular favourite). Here are four exquisitely written songs, seeming reflections into a private world, a little dose of personal consolations in fourteen gorgeous, tranquil minutes.
Clara Mann Online