By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
"Cinematic" is an overused descriptor among music journalists, but in the case of Clare & the Reasons' debut, it's unavoidable. Clare Muldaur Manchon, who hails from Martha's Vineyard, is an expert scene-setter ("I like to cook for you in my underwear 'cause our kitchen points to a wall," she sings on the utterly romantic "Cook for You"), and her Brooklyn-based band ably provides the ambience necessary to flesh out these lilting odes to New York City. The Movie is another in a long line of post-9/11 albums paying homage to the Big Apple, though the locale of "Nothing/Nowhere," wherein indie superhero Sufjan Stevens nicely complements Clare's hip-swaying jazzbo routine, is left more abstract.
"Under the Water" and "Love Can Be a Crime" certainly possess a moody, wistful quality, but there's nothing bleak or dangerous about The Movie to justify the shadowy noir quality of its packaging. And the album plays less like a feature-length flick and more like an assemblage of disconnected shorts: Aside from bookends "Pluto" and "Pluton" (the latter a spacier spin sung in French), which serve as opening and closing credits, there isn't really much of a narrative thread. By its final stretch, The Movie starts to feel like background music, and let's face it: Whatever's going on in your Lower East Side apartment is probably less exciting than a Fritz Lang film.
Clare and the Reasons play Rockwood Music Hall October 8, rockwoodmusichall.com