The Claudettes - High Times in the Dark
by Kevin Wierzbicki
You would not want to be the guy that Claudettes singer Berit Ulseth is addressing her lyrics to in this set's opening cut, "Bad Babe, Losin' Touch," because that guy has burned his bridge. Ulseth peppily recounts how she is not getting the attention she's used to, and casually slips in that she's "been seeing other menů" The character Ulseth represents in the song may or may not be bent about the situation, but the airy melody and vocal delivery indicate that she's just fine. Ulseth sings with a similar tone throughout, and while High Times in the Dark is a showcase for her vocal work, the album is far from a one-person effort. Johnny Iguana's piano sets a mood on cuts like "24/5" and Zach Verdoorn reels off sassy guitar riffs on the soulful rock of "Grandkids, Wave Bye-Bye," and the band, rounded out with drummer Michael Caskey, creates perfect soundscapes for Ulseth throughout. Clearly they're all having a ball on "Declined," a rollicking, almost southern rocker where Ulseth joyfully sidesteps the barrage of offers a person receives on a non-stop basis, and presumably also from potential suitors. Drawing from many genres, the Claudettes do indeed offer up high times here on this nice set of rootsy pop.