Clairo – Charm

Working alongside producer Leon Michels to create a mini-universe, Charm is a grower of an album, Clairo growing with it

Album Review by Tony Inglis | 10 Jul 2024
  • Clairo – Charm
Album title: Charm
Artist: Clairo
Label: self-released
Release date: 12 Jul

Claire Cottrill needs to be commended for her commitment to becoming a Career Artist. When you’re hit with the nepo baby allegations early on and your internet songs become smashes, it’s not de rigueur to follow a thread that’s all your own. Clairo has dodged those pitfalls by releasing now three contained albums that steadfastly refuse to fit neatly into the whims of the mainstream, a path that seems all but laid out for her.

She’s done this whilst still skirting it. Take 2021’s Sling, a cosy sounding record of Laurel Canyon soft rock which reckoned with Clairo’s experience of music industry sliminess and her place in it. She worked with pop producer extraordinaire Jack Antonoff, prizing out a precise and restrained sonic palette while her more uber famous peers (Lorde; Taylor Swift) collaborated with Antonoff on misfires and grey slop.

As on Sling and Immunity (with Rostam Batmanglij), Charm sees Clairo working with a single producer to create a mini-universe. Alongside Leon Michels, Clairo delves into a louche and loungey style, warm keys crumpled with tape hiss, reminiscent of the French idols of the 50s and 60s, smeared with mascara and sexy, even as it turns the mirror on ogling eyes. On the back half of the record, the production turns towards the kind of lo-fi psychedelia of Stereolab and Broadcast, Clairo embodying Trish Keenan’s detached delivery, another previously unseen aspect of her artistry she wears well. Like SlingCharm is a grower of an album, Clairo growing with it.

Listen to: Second Nature, Terrapin, Add Up My Love