Artist Watch: Think BIG When You Think Of Clare Maguire

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

O, smite life distractions!

I have been wanting, waiting, to tell you about Clare Maguire...and I'm just now getting around to it, even though she has already captivated a number of fans and bloggers since the beginning of this year.

As a fan of the rich vocal stylings from UK damsels like Annie Lennox, Lisa Stansfield, and Alison Moyet, Clare Maguire had my undivided attention from the jump. Right when I heard the swell of "The Shield and the Sword" off of her debut album, Light After Dark, I was like "Wow! Now that's a voice!" In some ways she sounds too much like Annie Lennox, but not enough to where I just want to put on Diva and call it a day.

Light After Dark is in a word: bombastic. It is just BIG, in style, vocal execution, and ideas--all of them fleshed out due to Clare Magurie and producer Fraser T. Smith. You gotta love a girl who penned her own material, and it shows in this 14 song collective that attention to detail was a must. Even when the music wants to dive off into engulfing her voice, Maguire's haunting tone remains the focal point and takes songs like the bluesy swinging wail of "Ain't Nobody" and the soaring Kate Bush-esque, "The Happiest Pretenders" to unexpected places.  

Florence + The Machine
comes to mind with the environment the album rests in (it's all those wall-to-wall drums...) and the sweeping electronic arrangements gives her that sophisticated pop appeal this side of Ellie Goulding. Still, Maguire has a promising and classy introduction on her hands, and once you take a listen to what Light After Dark has to offer, you'll find yourself immersed in its atmosphere. It's really pop music for the grown folk. Swiftly the album has found it's way to being on my best bets of 2011, so do like I do and give Ms. Maguire's debut a spin, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at what unfolds. 

...and since I love covers so much, you must take a peek after the cut for her version of Aloe Blacc's "I Need A Dollar"---just good things all around from this talented lady.

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