Running In Slow Motion, the new record from Claire Birchall is an album of contradictions, a perhaps surprising new direction from a stalwart of Melbourne’s indie rock scene. A darkly emotive synth-pop record, recorded entirely to 4-track, alone in her bedroom, the album is Birchall’s first foray into electronic music and it’s pretty hard to put your finger on. Sometimes it sounds like the soundtrack to an unknown 80’s sci-fi movie, sometimes you could certainly throw the term “darkwave” at it, post-punk maybe, but the songwriting is a bit more classic pop. Owing as much to the influence of The Beach Boys or Big Star as Alan Vega or Depeche Mode. The simplicity of its production sits in juxtaposition to the complexity of her songcraft. Rough edges cut through beautiful, layered melodies.
Claire is a master of pop songwriting. Largely known for her melodic rock songs with bands Paper Planes and The Phantom Hitchhikers. A multi-instrumentalist, devotedly DIY, she wrote, played and recorded the entire record herself, with the exception of the stark ‘Pretty Boy’ which is a striking cover of a Randy Newman deep cut from his 1979 album Born Again. A record collector and lover of music with broad taste you’ll catch the influence of widely disparate music styles and artists, from the dark Portishead like drone and pulse of ‘Hang It Up ‘ to the Bacharachian splendour of ‘Song For The Man In The Moon’. Running in Slow Motion is a remarkable record and unique take on the synth-pop idiom.