Class Actress’ debut LP, Rapprocher, gives listeners two options for dealing with love trials. The first encourages you to sit in a room with the lights off contemplating the relationships of your past. The second suggests that you take those sad-ass feelings to a bar to dance until you finish an entire bottle of tequila or until the lights come on—whichever comes first. Frontwoman Elizabeth Harper sings about everything from love discovered to love lost over ’80s electro-pop beats. Using various vocal techniques, which sometimes make it difficult to understand the lyrics of some songs, she fluctuates from a deep almost soulful tone to a barely decipherable high pitch.
Since the band first hit the scene, Harper has received countless comparisons to Madonna. Seeing as how the icon is one of her biggest influences, it’s not hard to see where she incorporated elements of Madge’s music. Similar to Madonna, Harper is not a belter. There are no hummingbird songs on this album, so if you are looking for a gut-wrenching, glass-shattering vocal performance, exit stage left. However, if you are in the mood for Euro-club love songs, then proceed.
The album opens with “Keep You,” a catchy track that is one of the less dreary songs on the album. “Love Me Like You Used To” follows, a lamenting break-up track. Just as you begin to settle in your broken-heartedness, the album switches gears with “Weekend,” an up-tempo love song. It is just as upbeat as the break-up song, so it takes you a minute to stop your wallowing and indulge in this love-celebrating tune. Whether this song is intended to be a cute head-over-heels love song or one for the relationship obsessed is at the listener’s discretion, but either way, it’s one of the better songs on the album.
At the album’s halfway mark the band adds “Prove Me Wrong,” which pulls away slightly from the Sixteen Candles mood and will appeal even to people who have little interest in ’80s pop. A quick shimmy (yes, shimmy) down the tracklist, Class Actress offers something even cooler: sexual pursuit role reversal. Get your minds out of the gutter—this isn’t about being kinky. On this one, titled “Limousine,” Harper sings, “Wouldn’t it be nice to let go/All we do is talk about it/All you do is say no” and “I don’t know if I can wait it out/Are you trying to break me in or break out.” It’s not often that women sing about being denied in that department, so kudos to her for walking in that territory. The song could also just be unisex since neither the pronouns he or she is used, but that wouldn’t be as cool, now would it?
From then on out, Rapprocher remains constant with its themes on love gained and lost and constant with its electro beats, even if the ordering of the songs sometimes feels inconsistent, breaking the flow. Still, this is a solid debut for the highly anticipated band.