The Cla-Zels – Set Your Ray To Stun
Locale: Cincinnati, Ohio
It wasn’t to long ago Seattle, Washington ruled the airwaves with amazing band like Nirvana, Peal Jam and Alice in Chains. Recently rapper Maclemore is taking off. Cincinnati also has it’s fair share of hot bands over the years as well. The Afghan Wigs, Wussy, Heartless Bastards and The National just to name a few. The Cla-Zels area hot up and comer based out of Southern Ohio as well and is definitely worth mentioning. I like their bio: Fleetwood Mac on steroids, The Cla-Zels feature both boy and girl lead-singer/songwriters, who blend vocal harmonies with diverse elements of rock, country, blues and funk. Showcasing instrumental jamming while emphasizing strong songwriting and melody, the quartet is “a modern day incarnation of the best of male and female-led vocal rock bands of the 1960s and 1970s (Cole Christiansen).”
Band members are: Jason Erickson- Lead Guitar / Vocals, Joanie Whittaker- Rhthym Guitar / Vocals, Chris Barlow- Bass, Brian “Gigs” Baverman- Drums.
Their music is steeped in a multidimensional fusion of indie-rock, and 70s psychedelic blues-rock in the spirit of heavyhearted forebears such as Brodka, Icona Pop, Sky Perreira, Clarice Falcao, Natalia Kills. If they rocked out a bit more I could also hear 30 Seconds to Mars, to Melissa Ehtheridge. This latest CD “Set Your Ray to Stun” embraces the rich heritage of all of the above genres, while holding their own within Whittaker’s deep and versatile voice and loose as a screw writing style. I might add Erickson also shares the microphone on some songs. I feel this is a couple rock band. All of this and more tie the album together nicely, even as the music skips around and delves into unsuspected territory on some of the harder tracks. This is more than just alt-rock folks, I can even hear R&B and melancholy hard rock woven within the musical fabric. The CD starts off with 3 amazing movements: “Stone Mary”, “Why Cry”, and “Kiss Hello” all rocking ballads. “I Am Real” and “I Am The Fire Queen’ are equally as impressive with flamboyant vocal flair from Whittaker and Erickson. By track 5 this CD hits solid stride and keeps coming at you one track after the next. Just when you think you got these four figured out the next few tracks dive even deeper.
After listening to “Set Your Ray to Stun” by The Cla-Zels it’s evident to me their talents are far beyond what I imagined or even expected. They have a warm yet powerful writing style and Whittaker has an effective voice and look that many people will gravitate towards. She also captures that id-West rock sound to a “T.” The Cla-Zels prove they are a musical force to be reckoned with down in Cincinnati. It’s nice to see a new artist from down that way move up amongst the musical ranks.