Following a plethora of bedroom indie-pop bangers and a debut performance in Hong Kong earlier this year, viral pop sensation Clairo has released her debut album Immunity, which shows the 20-year-old shedding her lo-fi aesthetic for a more slick production.
Lead single Bags is a great example of this. The electric guitar chugs are clean and bright, while her youthful, withdrawn vocals are crystal clear. Sofia nods to her roots, where Strokes-y guitar chords pave the way for a sweet summer-pop melody.
At times, Clairo seems to be stretching her genre legs, from the wistful 90s-era All Saints-esque Softly, to the reserved post-grunge fuzz of North.
Lyrically, she might come across as relatively unsophisticated, but that doesn’t mean some of her lines don’t cut deep, such as in the dreamy chorus of Impossible, where she sings, “And I know we’re not the same as we were/Used to be falling hard/But now it just hurts me so bad”.
There are a few moments that don’t quite connect, though. While Clairo’s voice does suit the neo-soul organ-led swing of Sinking, it never becomes anything exciting, and White Flag feels like more of a mood-setter than a complete song.
For a first attempt, Immunity is an enjoyable set of songs. Still, it could have included some older, stronger singles, like Pretty Girl, to really knock us out.