Review Summary: a taut rope
In listening to Clairo’s Immunity
, it’s clear that she’s come a long way from the timid and coarsely produced bedroom pop of metal heart
. That’s to be expected; while it was technically her official debut, it was also created at the age of fifteen. Immunity
sounds the part of a woman now across the threshold of her twenties: it’s deep in thought, full of confidence, and also a little confused at times. Claire Cottrill came out as openly bisexual in 2018, and a lot of these tracks seem to deal with her slowly coming to that realization, as well as the satisfaction of finally admitting it to herself. One can envision her reasoning the whole process out in her head on the soft-rock of ‘Sofia’, where she ponders, “know that you and I shouldn't feel like a crime, I think we could do it if we tried” before ultimately reaching a personal revelation, “you know I'll do anything you ask me to / but, oh my God, I think I'm in love with you.” A lot of these songs gradually unveil stories within themselves, as Claire chips away at her own insecurities while pursuing her true identity. It’s a totally honest and organic evolution that we can witness firsthand.
keeps the lights dimmed and the energy restrained. It’s appropriate, because so much of the record’s focus is on holding back – whether it’s Claire doubting her sexuality on ‘North’ (“touching me, hands warm on my thigh / and I know I could turn a blind eye, afraid of what I'm gonna find”) or ‘Impossible’ resisting the temptation to reunite with a past partner. Immunity
has the audible consistency of a taut rope – it’s constantly on edge, always in one’s head, yet it never quite snaps. That’s Clairo’s magnetism; this persistent tension that keeps us invested for the duration of her story. Layered over trickling beats and light guitar fuzz, it’s a confessional atmosphere that feels remarkably intimate.
The centerpiece of the album is Claire’s voice, and rightfully so. Her delivery is relatively candid, but it also possesses a warmth that echoes within the atmospheric lounge-pop surrounding her. Cottrill’s vocals resemble a more elegiac Swift, or perhaps a more pedestrian Bridgers. There’s something to be said for that middle ground, as she consistently settles into a sweet spot between wistful indie-pop and more accessible, uplifting melodies. The album’s first half possesses most of her hooks, but the more exploratory latter portion is where her voice shines the brightest – such as on the towering, children’s choir-accompanied curtain call ‘I Wouldn’t Ask You.’ Clairo has always had a voice capable of reaching the masses, but it’s never quite taken shape to the extent that it does on Immunity
For all intents and purposes Clairo’s debut album, Immunity
proves to be everything that people who’ve watched her ascent could hope for. She has set the stage to dominate her own slice of the forlorn indie-pop niche, alongside peers like Baker, Heynderickx, and Soccery Mommy. That isn’t to say that she’s quite on that level yet, but there’s nothing here to suggest that she isn’t capable of adding a few experimental wrinkles to her sound over the next few years while establishing an even more distinct musical identity. If that’s your kind of scene, then Clairo is your girl – and she’s well on her way to coming into her own.