Clare and the Reasons, 'Arrow' (Frog Stand)

Critical Mass
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by Stacey Anderson

Even by Brooklyn standards, Clare and the Reasons are inescapably, inconceivably cute; wispy falsetto vocalist Clare Manchon and her husband Oliver wrote and recorded this sophomore album in their kitchen and living room. Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond stops by for a neighborly cameo on "This Is the Story," and her hosts add just enough handclaps, brass, slide whistles, and jazzy piano trills to fully realize their theatrical chamber pop. Honeyed without being saccharine, Arrow hints at St. Vincent's bittersweet rhapsody, but settles for twice the tenderness.

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