Reza Ryan: guitar; Adi Wijaya: keyboards; Enriko Gultom: bass; Alfiah Akbar: drums
Let me start with that name – Clara – which is also how I call my trustworthy 1997 Ford Fiesta. An immediate positive inclination, so to speak. Later one looks at the declared origins of causation – no need to restate them, even if I’d add Return To Forever circa Hymn Of The 7th Galaxy to an impressive list of influences – and goes “hmmm”. Then again, a track titled “Dangerous Kitchen” with an obvious clue to Frank Zappa (it’s not a cover of the latter’s namesake pseudo-rap, though). Eventually, the music starts and the compounding of intelligent sprightliness and esteem for the past masters ultimately prevails, presenting us with an abundant hour of perfectly enjoyable music with roots in the progressive/jazz-rock heritage of the 70s. Another Indonesian group from Moonjune, I Know You Well Miss Clara may be the personal favorites amidst an already presentable batch. Their debut release, without overly exercising an awkward wording, makes its underlying spirit tangible – and welcome. Recorded in just 18 hours or so, and it does feel, Chapter One discloses the type of child-like wonderment that pushes a grouping of musicians to deliver themselves from the “constriction of belonging”, for they easily survive tough tests most everywhere as far as multiple genres are concerned. Technically speaking, the guys are good-to-brilliant; and if a few imperfections are detectable here and there, they enrich the formula with a measure of healthy non-pretentiousness. It’s hard for me to spin more than once a prog-rock album not coming from the times of my childhood/adolescence; this time the act was reiterated thrice in a row, both for the above mentioned disarming appearance – optimistic vibes all over – and for the chronicler’s own desire of getting a plausible explanation for this instantaneous sympathy.