Chantal Claret ‘The One, The Only’ (The End Records)
Best known as the lead singer of rock band Morningwood, wife of Mindless Self Indulgence’s delightfully named Jimmy Urine (scatological humour never ceases to amuse) Chantal Claret’s debut ‘The One, The Only’ arrives with very little fanfare. Well, that is until you begin to play the album. Literally; hit the play button and you’re greeted by the most in-your-face-it’s-millimetres-from-the-tip-of-your-nose intro since Madness recorded ‘One Step Beyond’. “The bad girl of blue-eyed soul” then proceeds to grab your attention and keeps a death grip on it throughout the rest of the album’s 40-ish minutes. This is an album for house parties, a bombastic blast of in your face pop with attitude. There’s an utterly glorious blend of influences at work here, and Chantal doesn’t so much wear them on her sleeve as paint them in hundred foot high lettering and illuminate them with neon. From the Motown inspired (and I do mean inspired) intro and first track ‘Bite Your Tongue’, the Duffy with attitude esque ‘Pleasure Seeker’ via the gorgeous sixties pop of ‘Honey Honey’ and the jazz-tastic disco of ‘Song For The Sinners’ to the dreamy closer ‘Can’t Save Her’, ‘The One, The Only’ is an absolute must have. For fans of anything. I fucking love it.
A highlight among many is female empowerment anthem in the making ‘Real Girls’, an uplifting call to arms to all real women out there to be themselves. Fuck Beyonce, this is what musical female empowerment SHOULD sound like. The assertion that “you’ll find a man who’ll love ya from your head to your toes” too is, frankly, spot on. ‘Pop Pop Bang Bang’ could be off a Ting Tings album, a lyrically inventive yet to the point fuck you to every guy who has ever wronged her, with a chorus that will not leave your head without a battle. ‘Honey Honey’ could easily be a Diana Ross track, all bouncy pianos and sparkly glockenspiels and a lyric that would reassure even the most neurotic of partners.
I’ve recently discovered Chantal has signed this year to BMG as a songwriter, and I await with excited anticipation the fruits of this deal. ‘The One, The Only’ is an absolute gem of a record, which I insist you purchase. Do it. NOW.