By: Jessica Grose
Lots of bands decide to name-check themselves on their early albums to sear their monikers firmly into the minds of fans. Built to Spill has a song on their first album called “Built to Spill,” while Eminem’s first three albums are named after his various handles. But when Morningwood spell out their name on “Nth Degree,” the repetition is unnecessary: Frontwoman Chantal Claret’s killer ingï¿½nue persona gives audiences plenty to remember.
New York City born and bred, Claret has a name that’s fit for lights, with its natural alliteration and assonance, and her chameleonic voice vacillates between naive jailbait and knowing sex kitten, covering all the bases in between. On “Jetsettermusicletter,” Claret is all little-girl-sweetness-and-light during the chorus, singing in near-falsetto, “This is a jet-setter music letter / From me to you,” before bursting out into brassy, fully belted verses about “all the kids kissing in the bathroom,” and how hard it is to say no. Claret’s becomes even more come-hither on the candidly titled “Take Off Your Clothes” and the cheeky “Babysitter.” Just like a pre-dawn boner, Morningwood ain’t exactly subtle.
Though Claret is the visual leader of Morningwood, the charismatic 23-year-old has the least experience in the group. Bassist Pedro Yanowitz used to drum for the Wallflowers and Natalie Merchant, drummer John Paul Keenon O played with Cibo Matto, and guitarist Richard Steel was part of Spacehog. Adding to the band’s already-stellar musical pedigree is the work of famed producer Gil Norton (Pixies, the Foo Fighers, Belly).
Claret’s live performance is almost as mercurial as her voice — during past shows she’s been known to simulate sex with naked ladies, ride a toy pony, and hurl obscenities at the audience. This is one show you won’t want to miss, so find Morningwood while they’re still hard and be prepared for a wild ride. Morningwood hits stores Jan. 10.
Morningwood tour dates:
1/11, New York, NY (Bowery Ballroom)1/24, Seattle, WA (El Corazon)1/26, San Francisco, CA (Slim’s)1/27, Los Angeles, CA (the Roxy)1/28, Orangevale, CA (the Boardwalk)1/30, Anaheim, CA (Chain Reaction)1/31, San Diego, CA (Soma)2/17, Buffalo, NY (Club Icon)2/18, Pittsburgh, PA (Rex Theatre)2/20, Philadelphia, PA (Theatre of the Living Arts)2/21, Sayerville, NJ (Starland Ballroom)2/23, Hartford, CT (Webster Theatre)2/24, Towson, MD (Recher Theater)2/25, Boston, MA (Axis)