Bristolian singer-songwriter Clara Mann follows the plaintive “I Didn’t Know You Were Leaving Today” with the next missive from her forthcoming debut EP, Consolations, which is coming out February 24 on Sad Club Records. On new single “Thoughtless”, she says:
“I wrote this over a summer where I was totally adrift- it was quite a lonely time, and I felt that, in a bid for some kind of connection, I was making myself vulnerable to the wrong people. Thoughtless is a recognition of that unhealthy tendency in myself, as well as being about the way people can take too much of someone, without even realising.”
“Thoughtless” is an exercise in subdued, subtle intimacy. There is a perceptibly lo-fi quality to the recording; every intake of breath, every slide of a finger on a guitar string, each swallow between phrases – it’s all there, with Mann’s voice front and centre and close-miked.
Mann’s voice has an old-fashioned gentility to it, and her phrasing is exquisite. She elongates lines and lingers on lyrics with aplomb. The simple, trickling acoustic guitar accompaniment barely needs any adornment but is joined beautifully by low-key harmonies.
Influenced by “lost” folk songwriters such as Connie Converse and Molly Drake, Mann shares their fragility of voice and delicacy of touch. She grew up in a religious village in the South of France until the age of seven, and the song is infused with a rustic, reserved beauty.
“I am a voice without reason,” she sings. But there’s a lot of reason to listen to this particular voice.