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Album Review: Alex Clare – Three Hearts

3 min read

British singer and songwriter Alex Clare’s new album Three Hearts sees Clare experiment with a diverse variety of sounds and genres.

Three Hearts sees Clare combine his efforts with producers Diplo & Switch – the masters behind acts such as Major Lazer and M.I.A .  While stronger songs on the album are those driven by Clare’s own acoustic guitar, the duo have commingled Clare’s silky smooth vocals with an array of different mixes creating a contrast from the acoustic reveries on the album more suited to a small country pub. In short, Three Hearts is the equivalent of a musical lolly bag.

Alex-Clare-Three-Hearts-album-cover-Never Let You Go opens the album with an intro that could easily be a synthesised appropriation of the start to The Circle of Life in the Lion King. The song is a generic power pop ballad that would impress the likes of Coldplay as Clare manages to exude a motivating optimism that makes this the perfect for a rainy day. The looped backing of majestic synthesised brass and keyboards which accompany Clare’s silky smooth vocals are easy to appreciate and has the potential to induce an optimistic flurry of energy when consumed in excess.

Just A Man and Take You Back harbor an expected, generic-ness synonymous with any moody pop songs – making them like the un-exciting musk sticks and orange snakes that managed to worm their way into every lolly bag I received after a party as a kid. Both songs feature Clare accompanied by a duet of block piano chords and acoustic guitar, splattered with the odd murmurs of a string orchestra that attempt to add to the emotional impact of the songs. Like musk sticks and orange snakes, these songs are either simply accepted as the less exciting tracks of Clare’s album or completely irksome in comparison to other songs on the album. Similarly, the almost painfully slow climax of title track Three Hearts places it in this category of un-extraordinary ingredients of a lolly bag.

War Rages On is a synth-laden power pop anthem with the zest lacked by other similar tracks on the album. The song is give momentum by a drum and bass backing track not unlike that which features on Rudimental tracks, making it’s build up to a thunderous climax an exasperating journey that will not fail to evoke the motivation to do something significant with your life.

With acoustic, alt-rock jams like Unconditional,  Clare flaunts a traditional kind of musical talent gracing listeners with a raw acoustic guitar harmony instead any artificial, synthesised energy. The effect is very refreshing within the record.

The acoustic, genuine talent of Clare is also realised in more subdued reveries of the album. Like pieces of a chocolate block, Sparks is a soothing, emotional lullaby. The songs sentimentality is generated by its sparse composition – uncommon to the album. Clare’s melancholic vocals, balanced by hopeful sounding piano chords is a successful, moving attempt to channel the likes of Adele.  Similarly So Deep exerts a similar, dreamy mellowness instead induced by a wash of fuzzy synth sounds perfect to ruminate the mysteries of the universe in a hammock during the mid-afternoon too.

The success of Three Hearts really depends on your musical taste however it’s hard to deny Clare praise for his efforts to create an album that features such a variety of sounds.