Clairy Brown’s ‘Baby Caught the Bus’ brings back retro, motown with modern twist

Eric Casey, Staff Writer

With Christmas just around the corner you are probably pondering over a glass of Egg Nog what to get your loved one this year.  Have no fear!  Music is always a fantastic present.  Whether it’s in the form of an iTunes card, CD, or even Vinyl records.  A great suggestion would be an album that anyone with a good taste in music can enjoy.  It has sex appeal and tons of retro rock soul to surely make your feet tap unconsciously.  What is it you ask?

The album is titled “Baby Caught the Bus” by Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes.  If you can recall about a year ago Heineken beer had this band featured in one of their ongoing popular series of elongated TV commercials.  The ad was called ‘The Switch’ and featured the band performing their most well known song “Love Letter”.  The extended ad on Youtube now has over 1.3 million views.

Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes originated from Melbourne, Australia and became official in 2009.  Since then the band had mainly just toured around Australian clubs and theaters.  In 2011 they released their first EP called “Baby Caught the Bus”.  By 2012 they started gaining more notoriety thanks to the international Heineken TV ad.  In the U.S. their debut was finally released on May 21st, and charted at number 167 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart a week later.

Aside from “Love Letter” which was arguably one of the best songs of 2012, there are other standouts on this A+ record.  “Baby Caught The Bus” almost feels like it just came out of 1965.  It’s like Doo Wop just crashed head on into Motown.  “I’ll Be Fine” has Clairy crooning over a bunch of “shoo bop-bop’s ahead of a nice orchestra that features a lush saxophone adding even more rawness.  The ’50s inspired  “Far Too Late” follows in the pattern of break up songs.  “How many years have to pass me by?/how many tears must I cry?”

“She Plays Up To You” sets the tone for a seductive and more laid back second part of the album.  It feels somewhat tribal and includes a growl halfway through the song.  “I don’t wanna lose you to some floozy who’ll use you, spend your money, call you honey, but never love you like I do!”

Surprisingly Clairey Browne has come out as gay to Paste magazine where she talked about her past blog that dealt with feminism, erotic fiction, and poems.  Her opinion on gay marriage had always been this.  “I think that one of the cool things about being gay is that you didn’t have to get married, and I guess it was always in the name of resistance.”  She’s recently had the urge to get back into journalism to spread her progressive ideas that can’t seem to fit into her songs.  Either way, this bombshell beauty and her band are likely to stick around to drench us in ‘retro doo wop bubble gum pop heaven’ with a seasoning of soul.