A sound all its own and a lyricism to rival today’s most established writers
Lucy Sheehan
16:05 27th August 2020

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With their strange and brutal EDM-flavoured punk, CLT DRP have carved themselves a niche from which to defy the limits of genre. In fact, you might call that CLT DRP’s modus operandi – to be the rebuttal of all things small-minded and confined. In an increasingly polarized world that shuns nuance Without the Eyes refreshingly sits rage and complexity side by side.

‘I Don’t Want to go to the Gym’ - its angular stabs melting into a thudding groove - is the fascinating, blistering second track. With its opening lines "I lick my fingers after I cut all the limes" singer Annie Dorrett depicts the service industry and the bitter dignity exchange required of many women: a daily barrage of leery commentary from clientele about body hair, weight and tattoos.

The song also addresses navigating femininity - a journey of rejecting, and then embracing femininity for what it means personally, as opposed to what society says it should be. Annie’s lyrical ability is evident in these honest, complex reflections. She owns and admits "I wish I looked like 2001 Jennifer Aniston" just as she rallies against cultivating bodily perfection at the gym. It is an apt portrayal of the fight to be able to define your own femininity. 

The single ‘Speak to My’ is an intoxicating ride, whimsical and dangerous by turn. Annie’s voice swoops and sneers, dissecting the expectations forced on young women - to "stand up straight" and "sit down and behave". Annie implores a lover to see her as she is: "speak to my fat…speak to my pussy!’"

‘Where the Boys Are’ likewise addresses the opposing forces that crush women who have fought their way into male spaces, and still find themselves sexualized and talked over - "They say open your mouth more/I try to speak but they never let me". With the chorus lines "I want to be where the boys are/Is that sexist?/I want to be where the boys are/I fucking earned it" Annie rages at the glass ceiling women face, and at the same time seems to muse on the difficult question: is it enough to equate emancipation with acquiring the economic and social privileges possessed by men?

Annie’s exceptional vocal and lyrical ability is echoed in the contribution of her band-mates. Drummer Daphne Koskeridou’s eye-watering talent and unique style drives the album, combining a joyous, wild power with careful attention to the space, stops and time signatures that forge the dynamics of music like this. Another element to CLT DRP’s unique flair is guitarist Scott Reynolds, who manages to fill the role of guitarist, bassist and synth player all at once, artfully locking in with Daphne at the same time as crafting lush textures, deep grooves and blistering noise. Together with Annie’s tonal versatility, they allow the album’s dynamics to move boldly and stylishly. In ‘Worth It’, austere rim shots and ticking synths evaporate before a crescendo of belted vocals and wall-of-sound guitars. In ‘Kill for Nothing’, eerie, twitching guitars are the bed over which Annie raves, chants and whispers. Each member gives the other space just as much as they can pull together for an explosive noise.

Without the Eyes is not only a success within its field but also something different, and more poignant. It is a reminder that the musical story of this generation won’t be told by shirtless bands screaming the same platitudes sung since the 1970s – it will be told by bands like CLT DRP, who tackle the hard questions. 

Without The Eyes arrives 28 August via Small Pond Records.

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Photo: Press