Surging Cincinnati based 4 piece rock band The Cla-Zels just released a ground breaking new 12 song CD entitled “Set Your Ray To Stun” Exploring all facets of love, from the thrill of the strong emotion to questioning the definition of love and the downsides of loss and walking away, on “Stun” dives head first into the personal ins and outs of love, life and relationships relatable to all of us but so intoxicating to the ears. Bottom Line – The Cla-Zels “Keep it Real” Straight away it’s clear to me the album is an imaginative return to passion filled Rock n’ Roll fused with the better musical touches of today Rocking Pop, and Soulful Singer/Songwriter popular in the 70’s. But wait – this band also delivers a Altrock edge as well. Band members include: Jason Erickson- Lead Guitar / Vocals, Joanie Whittaker- Rhythm Guitar / Vocals, Chris Barlow- Bass, Brian “Gigs” Baverman- Drums. The Cla-Zels remind me of Elastica, Pulp, The Hotrats, Pearl Love and Garbage. Sometimes Regina Spektor, A Fine Frenzy, Charlotte Martin, Vienna Teng and Natasha Bedingfield.
In all honesty – today music has many people feeling of bit of soullessness – how appropriate I get a CD by an artist as cool as The Cla-Zels. These four are a real jolt to the system – in a good way. The album begins in hooky fashion with the magnificent ‘Stone Mary” which is a crisp rocking raid on the senses, laden with hooks and impressive vocal bursts from Whittaker. Guitarist Erickson also share in the vocal duties from time to time and they do match well together. I get the impression they are a couple – tis comes out in the music. The only surprise is that one of these 12 gems wasn’t a number 1 single by now, as it is radio friendly of the highest order. “Your Suggestion” and “West Side Boy” follow and are pleasant journeys through a Pop Passion play of this bands psyche. On “I Know What You Said” the harmonies beautifying what could have been a dance number. ‘Why Cry” and “Kiss Hello” should both be singled for that matter and are both exceptional songs showcasing Whittaker and her band as a moving and grooving. “Kiss Hello” has a priceless chorus BTW and an infectious vocal feel. In the end this band is a real breath of fresh air and again a shock to everyday musical system presently in place – which is pretty bad. Whittaker and Erickson are both remarkable vocalist.
In summary “Set Your Ray To Stun” by The Cla-Zels is sure to turn your head and your ears and pretty much delivers everything the title implies, and is in itself a breathing 12 Track statement from this Southern Ohio band reminiscent of the classic 90’s College Rock sound. Out of the whole album, 5 songs are in the category of brilliant, 6 of them are good, and there are only one I’d find myself wanting to skip in rotation. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Cla-Zels continue to get more popular past the Mid-West Coast as 2015 unwinds.