The Movie – Clare & The Reasons

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This kind of orchestral pop approximates an amalgam of St. Etienne and Belle & Sebastian, without being nearly as good as either of those seminal bands. It’s also supposed to be nostalgic 1940s-era symphonic and cinematic group, with seven-piece band that includes violin, cello, piano and saw. They have the cover art down, but they can’t write to the level of their influences.

“Nothing/Nowhere”, “Under The Water”, “Alphabet City” are all mundane and poorly executed, and neither the songs nor Clare’s soprano are strong enough rescue this schlock from itself. She’s an average singer and she doesn’t possess the warmth required for this kind of material. “Cook For You” sounds like a vocal demo laid over a string arrangement, with notes she can’t quite hit. Even guest appearances by Van Dyke Parks and Sufjan Stevens can’t elevate this platter, which left me with a queasy feeling.