Their well-crafted songs are built around strong journey-like narratives which tell tales of shattered trust, reconnection, and optimism rising from adversity, reflecting Brücken’s decision to move away from the synth bank and try out the guitar – an instrument she learned to play during the making of the album – as the central plank of her song-writing. “Walk right in” shimmers with echoes of English folk, while “How do I know” and the funky, guitar-driven “Moon song” are each, in their own way, invitations to intimacy.
The combination of a sharp, contemporary musicality and her preference for story-telling, which also reflects a lifelong admiration for great European artists like Piaf, Dietrich and potent American singer- poets such as Patti Smith and Lou Reed, is fascinating.
Beautifully integrated, delicate layers of sound cradle and support Brücken’s lucid vocals as she explores the complex territory of the troubadour and the chanteuse réaliste. Williams’s skill is such that hints of Velvet Underground darkness blend easily with Abba-esque riffs, creating a bittersweet world in which the emotional climate is never settled for long.
(The Art Of The Torch Singer)
Where Else travels down the blues/folk route and often stops off at some very decent tunes. I Want You is a good opener and Nothing Good Is Ever Easy does show that she still has a nice voice with a well formed song and catchy enough hook.
Whilst recording the album, Claudia learned to play guitar and the influences of that new skill are easy to see not only on the album sleeve but also in the tracks themselves. At times leaning heavily on guitar lines, the album shows a side to her that could well appeal to a new audience. Her time spent working with Paul Humphreys of OMD over a decade ago has also given her a break free from her past.
Day Is Done is recorded with love and respect and is a worthy tribute, and recent single Nevermind tickles a funky guitar line whilst it teases a chorus into the fore. It’s probably fair to say that there are no world beaters on Where Else, but it is a solid enough pop album with several good tracks.
There’s a feeling that this album is the pre-cursor to something rather special, and that’s an exciting prospect. There’s no doubt that Claudia has a lovely voice and also that the songs are well written attempts – as Moon Song also demonstrates – and that she does sound comfortable with a safe pop approach. Letting Go almost threatens to break into something bigger and louder but resists.
An accomplished and well-presented album that re-affirms Claudia Brucken as not only a part of British pop history but also a force that could re-emerge very very soon.
(Louder Than War)