Release Date: May 8, 2012
Record label: Universal Republic
With his flat cap, fully-grown beard, and husky Ray LaMontagne-esque set of pipes, 25-year-old Londoner Alex Clare could quite easily pass for another member of the nu-folk brigade, but proving that appearances can be deceptive, his debut album, The Lateness of the Hour, has more in common with the spacious dubstep of James Blake and soulful electronica of Jamie Woon than the hillbilly pop of Mumford and Sons. Produced by Diplo and Switch (Beyoncé, M. I.
Whether your definition of dubstep is the twitching, ethereal beats of Burial or the pounding throb of a subwoofer stack, there’s no denying bass music has been well and truly assimilated into the mainstream this year. From Britney’s ‘Hold It Against Me’ homage to Example’s bona fide smash ‘Changed The Way You Kissed Me’, a fixation that originally infected a small pocket of south London has spread to major labels everywhere and shows no signs of abating. If Katy B is the Lily Allen of this still expanding phenomenon then Alex Clare is its better looking Plan B.
Listening to The Lateness of the Hour, I try to hear Alex Clare, but mostly end up seeing a hat. A fedora, to be specific. Always front and center in the mix, Clare's voice drips with the brassy confidence and implied stylistic reverence of post-Mark Ronson ladies' men like Bruno Mars, Wallpaper, and Mayer Hawthorne, artists who seem to exist solely to don fancy duds in men's magazines that congratulate them for doing absolutely nothing to upset the concept of how this stuff should sound and look-- soul music as a fashion accessory, mostly.