Retro orchestral pop makes up Clare & The Reasons’ debut release The Movie. Nestled under its throwback pulp movie poster cover design, the music has a light and scattered appeal to it. The initial track, “Pluto,” features staccato rows of plucked violins behind Clare Muldaur Manchon’s youthful, brisk sexpot coos. Vocal harmonies appear in subtle form, highlighting just the right places. The companion piece at the end of the record, “Pluton,” is an elongated reprise of “Pluto,” involving husband Olivier Manchon on saw. Featuring 20-plus musicians and guest performers such as heavy-hitter Sufjan Stevens and Van Dyke Parks (Brian Wilson), The Movie plays like a soundtrack to a coming of age flick from yesteryear.
Occasionally, however, Clare ventures outside her vocal range. When she does this, as in “Under the Water,” her voice gets a slight, airy quality that normally would signal weakness. Clare is an exception, though, as her music has a breezy air about it anyway. As a final note, two of her songs can be found on the ill-fated, genius program Arrested Development.