It was two years ago that I saw Clara Luzia live, on a warm day followed by a night that smelled of summer dampness, on stage a cover of Trouble Over Tokyo‘s No Handed, a friend by my side, and me full of expectations, finding someone in the audience who was absent – sort of imagining him from the back, not wanting to come near, not wanting to tap him on the shoulder because I knew as soon as I would, as soon as he’d turn as if in slow-motion I’d know for certain that it wouldn’t be him, I’d discover a stranger’s face and through the disappointment, I’d know it was over.
Clara on stage is a weird thing. She is small and quiet, and as I strained to see from the very back, I imagined the slight tremour of her hands as she held on tight to the microphone for the first notes of the very first song that night, Faces – the duet with Emma McGlynn and my personal favorite from The Ground Below, this time with no vocal accompaniment from Emma. And in this sort of loneliness she exudes, if not power, then strength. My fear of being at an album presentation without knowing her latest album other than through various differing opinions disappeared in a second, as she led the audience through a couple of old tracks first, with the upbeat Queen of the Wolves sinking into Old House for Sale and Quiet, the latter setting the foundation for what was to be an immensely emotional evening. The change was made there and then, when I heard the first notes of the album’s opener We Can Only Lose, the keys and explosion of instruments on stage, quite aware of the fact that I liked what I was hearing and that, though blinded by the lights (or rather, by the mass of people in front of me) I could still distinguish all that was played, down to the particularly strong bass in the following track Release The Sea.
It had been two years since the very first time I’d witnessed Clara Luzia live, and two years since her last record. Dare I say that we have all grown? That we are all able to look back at failed loves without weeping, with tenderness or, at the very worst, with the awareness that without all this hurt we wouldn’t be who we are? “History can’t be rewritten, but it can well be revisited”, sings Clara on the last track of her album The Long Memory. And so it is – we can’t replace what was, but we can come to terms with it. And with that in mind, Falling Into Place is a beautifully bitter album, with its own shades of light and darkness, less rebelliously political but more mature, with a title that really couldn’t suit her better as she falls into place, naked and earnest.Photo above courtesy of Christoph Liebentritt
Buy Clara Luzia’s Falling Into Place here