Super Monster


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Super Monster Review

by Marcy Donelson

Kicking off their recording career as half of collegiate duo Toast in 2018, Chicago native Claud Mintz soon went solo, making a warm and vulnerable brand of indie pop with a playful bent as Claud. Deciding to pursue music full-time and attracted to the sizable queer scene of New York City, Claud left school, put down roots in Brooklyn, and was quickly offered tour slots in support of acts including the Neighbourhood and Girlpool. In the process of expanding their audience, the singer/songwriter made a fan of Phoebe Bridgers, who decided to make Claud's full-length debut, Super Monster, the first release on her Saddest Factory imprint. Further endorsements came in the form of guest appearances from artists including Clairo and Nick Hakim in addition to Toast's Joshua Mehling, who also co-produced some of the songs. Hakim sings backup on "Ana," a melancholy tribute to a love left behind whose arrangement consists of strummed guitar, atmospheric synths, and Claud's tender, tuneful vocal line. (Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Jake Portrait plays synths and guitar on the track.) While that song makes do without drums, another trait of Claud's style here is simple beats as well as simple hooks that almost sound improvised -- or like a first songwriting draft. It's a quality that can make the tunes instantly digestible but may not, on their own, compel repeat listens. What offers stronger enticement to return are relatable, heart-on-one's-sleeve lyrics about disappointment, heartbreak, and burgeoning love, combined with a youthful charm that makes memorable mini-anthems of "That's Mr. Bitch to you" and "Don't let your guard down." In that spirit, over half of the tracks here come in under the three-minute mark. Meanwhile, production touches like varied vocal distortion, warped and woozy delay, and the pull-tab sound effect on "Pepsi" have the potential to keep listeners alternately hypnotized and playfully provoked. Ultimately landing like a skill set in progress more than an artist fully formed, Super Monster is nevertheless sweet and full of winsome promise.

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