Interior Monolith by Claire Tucker (CD)
Mining ‘80s electronic, synth-pop, rock and new wave, at first listen Claire Tucker’s bold new solo album Interior Monolith seems to be a departure from the wistful chamber-pop sounds of her debut solo EP Same Old Hunters.
Listen more closely and you’ll hear threads that weave through all her work - lyrics that draw you in, the deeply emotive character of her voice, and her killer sense of hook and melody. Tucker is our favorite kind of artist – restless, prolific, never content to stay in one place, always surprising us with new ideas and new sounds.
“I started recording Interior Monolith a few months into the pandemic. After spending much of the past year in lockdown I rented a small cabin in the woods outside Seattle and started working. The sonic palette of the album was essentially a product of the limitations imposed by lockdown. I had a backlog of songs and fragments…”
There’s something organic and elemental about Interior Monolith that is unusual in new wave or synth-pop, something more akin to Kate Bush’s "Running Up That Hill" than to the angularity of the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams." Interior Monolith may be driven by sampled drums and synth sounds, but the album was, after all, conceived in the backwoods of Washington state.
“While the end-result has a lot in common with ‘80s new wave and synth-pop music that I love, my primary goal was creating a feeling of buoyancy and energy rather than a specific sound. It was so easy to sink into a sludge of despair in lockdown, and I wanted this project to be a personal form of resistance against that.”
For all it’s synth-pop and rock sensibility, Tucker chooses to ease us down softly, ending Interior Monolith with the introspective “Motorists,” a lilting ballad and perfect album coda that would fit alongside the chamber-pop of Same Old Hunters. There’s room for the many different shades of Claire Tucker’s music in all her work. This is one of the most exciting things about her artistry.
In addition to co-producer, mixing engineer and percussionist Cameron Elliott, Interior Monolith features the pedal steel, guitar and backing vocals of her Loose Wing bandmate Bill Patton, and the melodic, languid electric bass of another of Tucker’s Loose Wing bandmates and partner, Jack Peters.