Back in 2004 Brooklyn-based songstress Elizabeth Harper released an album of country-tinged indie rock and pastoral folk. No wonder, then, that her transformation last year into a full-blown electro pop siren with Journal of Ardency had a slightly opportunistic air. Nonetheless, the lo-fi-ness of its sound and the quality of the songcraft somehow legitimized the entire conversion; on that EP, she even dared to venture a seven minute-long synthetic abstract jam with "Someone Real," which signaled the possibility of further studio-bound experimentations. On Rapprocher, Harper's first official full-length album under the Class Actress moniker, exploration is kept to a minimum in favor of an overall more conventional form of songwriting and producing.
In French, "rapprocher" means to bring something or someone closer to you, and Harper's warm chant—the exact same she showcased way back in 2004—accentuates the confessional yet upfront tone of the compositions collected here. "Weekend" and "Keep You" are effective, overtly catchy pieces of synthetic pop that are one part Metronomy, two parts post-breakdown Britney Spears, while "Need to Know" covers the same kind of affected torch song noir the likes of Austra or even Zola Jesus helped popularize these past few months.
Sometimes the overall mood gets languid, almost lazy (like on "Prove Me Wrong") or flirts with blatant insipidity (the electronic pop-by-numbers of songs such as "Limousine," "All the Saints" and "Hangin' On"), but there's always a beguiled hook that makes everything pass the first-listen reservations you might have. Thankfully, the swollen, humid atmospheres of witch house and vintage New Wave tension respectively shows up on "Missed" and "Bienvenue," bringing a welcomed diversion.
If there is one main flaw you could attach to Rapprocher, it's how Harper sticks so slavishly to the template laid out by her dance pop mentors: Her influences may range from Raymond Carver's short story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, object relations theory to "every kind of wave," but what you're more likely to hear is early Madonna and late '80s Depeche Mode. That said, this phase may not last that long for Harper, so feel free to listen: It may just be the aural equivalent of a one-night stand.
Buy Class Actress - Rapprocher at
Tracklist: Class Actress - Rapprocher 01. Keep You
02. Love Me Like You Used To
04. Prove Me Wrong
05. Need To Know
07. All The Saints
10. Hangin' On
11. Let Me In
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