Album Review: Claud – ‘Super Monster’
Posted: by The Editor
Claud is the moniker of Claud Mintz, a 21-year-old indie-pop musician who previously released music under the name Toast. Before their debut under their first name, they found some success with the song “Wish You Were Gay,” a track full of yearning and romance, that set the stage for what would become their new LP Super Monster. Mintz has also made music in a project called Shelly with their friends Joshua Mehling, Noa Getzug, and Claire Cottrill, who you likely know as Clairo. The members of Shelly feature here on the excellent closer, “Falling With The Rain.” The songs on Super Monster are heartfelt, fun pop that serves to entertain, but also function as a mirror we can see our romantic fumbles within. Claud has crafted a record that’s bright, emotionally intelligent, and full of songs as catchy as they are affecting.
They are also the first signee to Phoebe Bridgers’ Dead Oceans imprint label, Saddest Factory. Though despite Bridgers’ involvement, hers is not the influence that seems to loom over this record—that would be Taylor Swift. Mintz’s voice shares many of the same traits as Swift’s, and the earnest, confessional songwriting that became a trademark of albums like Fearless and Speak Now is all over Super Monster. Songs like “Jordan” and “Ana” touch on the endings of relationships, though with hindsight much more mature than some of Swift’s songs about exes. “I’ll keep saying sorry for mistakes I never made / I’ll keep saying sorry / just to make things go your way” they sing on “Jordan.” It’s a torch song, and while Mintz knows the relationship is a lost cause, they’re going out of their way to make sure it ends with little damage. “Soft Spot” is another moment like this. It’s full of instances of Mintz making excuses to see their former flame. They don’t want things to be over despite it having been made clear. The track is gentle and strummy but has a delightfully memorable chorus. The drums sit low in the mix, but if you listen close, you uncover just how sharp and detailed they are. The production on Super Monster is spectacular, every song is just polished enough to feel clean, but never so smooth that things feel sterile.
Not every track here is about fleeting love, though. In the record’s back half sits ”That’s Mr. Bitch to You,” a cut that is equal parts scathing, funny, and comforting. It’s essentially clap back-as-song, a response to being called a bitch that works to reclaim on impact. It’s not every day you get to hear a queer artist say “I won’t let a straight man throw off,” and as a queer listener, it’s pretty cathartic. The track is electric and features one of the record’s few tempestuous guitar solos. Another notable track on Monster is the excellent “Cuff Your Jeans,” a lithe, hazy song about long-distance relationships. Mintz’s voice is layered and sounds scattered as they talk about where they are in relation to their partner. While it starts as a classic pop song with huge drum machine hits, it transitions into something closer to dream-pop, or even shoegaze.
Super Monster is especially impressive as a debut. Each track feels lively, fresh, and the record offers up wall-to-wall bops. Even those which veer closer to balladry are given memorable enough hooks to keep the energy alive. So often art about young love can become riddled with cynicism, and there isn’t a moment where Mintz sounds jaded.
Disappointing / Average/ Good / Great /Phenomenal
Eric Bennett | @seething_coast
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