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Slightly wild-eyed and thoroughly fun, The Claudettes cook up an eclectic brew of brash pop and moody cabaret on the vastly entertaining High Times in the Dark. Paced by high-energy pianist Johnny Iguana, who composes the witty songs, and powerhouse singer Berit Ulseth, the Chicago quartet meets modern anxieties head-on, crafting sharp vignettes of souls struggling to stay on an even keel. Ulseth plays the smoky cocktail chanteuse or the brassy blues shouter with equal authority, whether resisting claustrophobic devotion on the blazing “24/5” or lamenting a cold lover to a languidly beautiful melody on “The Sun Will Fool You.” This smart, snappy album will make bad times a little easier to bear and turn future good times into a party.
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