If the name Clara Luzia doesn’t immediately mean much to you, you’re probably not alone on these shores. But in her native Austria, she’s something of a fixture as she returns with this, her fifth album. In 2008, after two albums and an EP, she won an Amadeus Award for Best Alternative Act, the Austrian equivalent of a Mercury, and was on the shortlist again for last year’s album Falling Into Place. The UK has shown up now and again on the itineraries of her extensive European touring, she’s picked up radio play here, and even appeared on the soundtrack for the record shop documentary Last Shop Standing.
Perhaps We Are Fish can help change that. From the first humble bars of piano which open the record it grows, and grows quickly, like a flower busting out on the first day of spring, with only beauty to follow until summer eventually draws to a close. With a four-piece band backing her with an array of cellos, accordions, clarinets, keyboards and guitars, she has a wide musical pallet to draw with, and paints pictures of many colours.
Opener ‘With Headlights On’ rides the rolling rhythms of Max Hauer’s piano topped with lush strings to create a wonderful sound, while the dramatic title track is all driving rhythms and raging guitars. Luzia has the tunes to back all this up, too. The catchy ‘A Presentiment’ stands out as single material while the slinky ‘Light Is Faster Than Sound’ is beguiling. There is, in short, not a dud on here. Remember the name.