Alicia Clara Makes Her Mark as a Dream Pop Artist to Watch on 'Outsider/Unusual' EP

Alicia Clara Makes Her Mark as a Dream Pop Artist to Watch on 'Outsider/Unusual' EP
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Swiss-born/Montreal based songwriter Alicia Clara makes gauzy, heavy-lidded dream pop — but, based on the sound of her six-song debut EP, Outsider/Unusual, she could be almost anything she wants. "Hazemaze" bops along like a classic '60s pop tune, "Stones Like Eyes" pops and slaps with an undercurrent of swaggering funk, and "Five" is a sighing gossamer ballad with forlorn lyrics.

Those distinctive moments are the highlights of the Michael Kalman-produced Outsider/Unusual, which is unfailingly lovely — so lovely, in fact, that not every moment makes a big impression. The shimmering guitar tones and reverb washes of mid-tempo numbers like the opening title track and "Flowers Were Better" are gorgeous; once the EP's 25-minute runtime is up, however, you'd be pressed to remember exactly what they sound like.

Outsider/Unusual is a perfect start for a new artist. It shows that she's already got a handle on her signature sound, and it points the way for intriguing new threads she could follow on future releases. For anyone with even a passing interest in hazy dream pop, Alicia Clara is one to watch. (Hot Tramp Records)