Boomkat Product Review:
Properly compelling debut LP of contemporary synth-pop, edging on witch-housey, dream-pop and shoegazy American gothic, from the PC Music foundry’s Hyd - fka QT - maturing her sound shades away from Carly Rae Jepsen, Salem, SOPHIE, Chromatics, Hole, and featuring a song written together with SOPHIE.
Huddling a few cuts from Hyd’s run of 2021-22 singles beside mostly new material, ‘Clearing’ offers a wider, definitive portrait of the singer-songwriter and visual artist who has been part of the label’s extended family since the early years and her A.G. Cook + SOPHIE-produced single ‘Hey’ (XL, 2014). Swerving the label’s more childish affectations, Hyd’s music has a broader appeal to lovers of classic millennial synth-pop and its roots in ‘80s/‘90s styles, part due to songwriting credits for SOPHIE, Caroline Polachek, Jónsi, Easyfun, and a more reserved A.G. Cook, who all appear to take the project more seriously as a classic, grown-up pop record, rather than disposable fluff.
Yep, this one’s got real legs for us, running start to finish as an engrossing album in the most timeless, yet up-to-date style. Signature PC Music hallmarks are all in effect, but perhaps more judiciously applied than their hyper-pop reputation betrays. From the opening, Carpentarian synth tones of ‘Trust’ to the icy, haunted Chromatics-like glamour of ‘Afar’ it’s all richly satisfying to teens as well as more, ahem, experienced ears. Embedded with themes of rejection and loss transmuted into vitality, the songs proceed at a finely tempered pace from the Salem-esque ‘Fallen Angel’ to a standout ‘So Clear’, written with SOPHIE, to the Carly Rae Jepsen-like pop-positive ohwurm of ‘Breaking Ground’, with ace turns to ‘90s grunge recalling Hole on ‘Chlorophyll’, and dry-iced glyde in ‘Glass’ and ‘Bright Light’ all prompting us to name this among the pop albums of 2022, all considered.