REVIEW: Claud's "Super Monster" is the perfect record to cry to
The name Claud may not be familiar to you, but they’ve been hiding in the shadows for a while now, just waiting for the right moment to spring forward and break through to the indie pop world. As the first signee to Phoebe Bridgers’ new label Saddest Factory and a member of Clairo side-project Shelly, Claud has been floating around for a moment whether you realized it or not. Their first record, Super Monster, shows influence from both Bridgers and Clairo, while retaining its own spirit of whimsical bedroom pop. Managing to be fun and soulful at the same time, Super Monster is a treat for fans of soft sad indie music (which is probably all of us, at this point).
Opening track “Overnight” feels like a less-cutesy Cavetown song, with its bouncy beat and light background vocals. It serves as a decent introduction to the record. Though it’s short, it captures the sweet, melancholic spirit that Claud manages to curate throughout the project. “Gold” is similarly catchy, but much more fleshed out. It’s here that we first see Claud’s strong songwriting abilities; they’re able to capture a mood within simple statements and a chord switch.
Single “Soft Spot” has been on every indie Spotify playlist for a few months now, so I won’t linger on it, but it is a lovely, slow-moving track with all the makings of a classic within the genre. If you listen to just one song from the album, make it this one. That being said, the song after it, “In Or In-Between” is a personal favorite on the record. The chorus soars, drifting dreamily through the run-time.
Much of Super Monster is a succession of one chill pop track after another. This isn’t a bad thing; Claud happens to do it well. They avoid the unfortunate trap that many indie tracks in this lane fall into, which is a complete lack of texture. Even a somewhat repetitive song like “Guard Down” has a bit of a build, with a short stripped-down section at the end. The production on the record switches between lush, warm instrumentals and minimalist lo-fi with emphasis on Claud’s vocals. This keeps it from blending together, despite the record being sonically cohesive.
There are a few dull spots on the record. “Jordan” meanders uninterestingly before trailing off with little pay-off. “That’s Mr. Bitch To You” is a bit immature and underwritten, though I appreciate the sentiment behind the song of standing up to those who misgender you and attempt to tear you down through the use of gendered epithets. Given that the record is thirteen tracks long, it may have benefitted from only including ten.
Things do pick up with “Pepsi,” carrying us into the strong last few songs of the record. “Pepsi” is a fun hook-up/break-up song with youthful references to roller skates and, of course, Pepsi. It paints a nostalgic picture; something Claud is clearly good at. The final track, “Falling With The Rain,” features Shelly (unclear whether that just makes it a Shelly song or a Claud song, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter). It’s a pretty track with a nice message of coming back after a dark period in your life. It’s the perfect closer to a record so often prone to lyrics about sulking in your bedroom; those days won’t last forever and, more often than not, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. That concept is becoming increasingly foreign, so it’s nice to indulge in it every once in a while.
Super Monster is certainly worth a look if you’ve been feeling down or have been craving music in the Phoebe Bridgers wheelhouse (though those things sort of go hand in hand, don’t they?). When you’re in the mood for a bit of wallowing, nothing else really beats a bit of downcast indie. Luckily for us, Claud is one to watch for sad folks everywhere.
McKinzie Smith is a former film student from Portland, OR. In her adolescence, she followed Fall Out Boy up and down the West Coast. She now considers herself very cool and normal and only a little bit emo. She now spends most of her time listening to Charli XCX in her kitchen and writing articles about things she likes.