Is sad girl an official genre? If it is, Clairo has mastered it. Few artists have such a natural sorrow in their voice, but on Claire Cottrill’s debut album, that voice is front and centre, floating alongside lo-fi guitars and hazy synthesisers.
That’s not to say that’s a bad thing; it’s quite the opposite. On ‘Immunity’, her endearing heartache is transformed, taking the sub-par production of her previous EP’s (recordings that were the very definition of bedroom pop), and turning them into sprawling studio jobbies.
The first taster of which we got on ‘Bags’, a slick, shoegazey number that sparkles and dulls at the same time. “Pardon my emotions, I should probably keep it all to myself”, she sings. Christ, if this was the first single, she definitely isn’t holding back on the rest of the album tracks.
Her vulnerability is never compromised in her songwriting, instead it's empowered. ‘White Flag’ is peak Clairo, as she warbles “I was fifteen when I first felt loneliness”, but the odd upbeat tracks are the real standouts.
‘Closer To You’ might be as close to a banger as we get from her, with it’s autotuned vocals and rattling high hats, and ‘Sofia’ is not only a welcome change of pace, but a gorgeous ode to another girl, that has a subtle anger in it’s “you and I shouldn’t feel like a crime” hook.
While her first EP was titled ‘Diary 001’, it sort of feels like ‘Immunity’ is the real open book. It’s more than just a great little collection of songs, it’s a young woman’s journey, from her teens into her twenties. It’s laying everything out in the open so she’s untouchable.