Clare Quilty


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Apart from ska bands and rappers, it seems no one wants to be categorized these days. Clare Quilty, a sort of gender-inclusive funky hard-rock postpunk pop outfit from Charlottesville, Virginia, is no exception to that rule: every time you hear a drum loop a metallic guitar intrudes; every time a heavy riff gets in the driver's seat, it's nudged over by a naive melody. What's pretty consistent is way the songs are structured, most of them featuring a crunchy coating over a sweet and poppy center. This isn't punk pop in the style of Blink 182 or Green Day, but Clare Quilty shares with those bands a tendency to disguise pop sophistication with surface aggression. "Angel of the Odd" sounds at first like a straight-ahead rocker, but listen to the chord progression and you'll find unexpected complexity. "Reach Tomorrow" is actually closer to jangle-pop than rock, and the "la la ooo" chorus on "Crush" subtly undermines the ham-fisted guitar riff on which the song is based. Inspirational lyric: "I'm a victim of the modern age... Kill me, I want to be good."

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