No matter your age or station, Supermodels is the sort of record you can hear yourself in. Claud’s engrossing and poignant second album is a confident diary of the mercury of life and love in one’s early 20s, whether it’s the self-doubt that creeps through its tunes or the place of compromise they try to find. It’s an exacting map of the emotional and logistical vicissitudes they’d encountered in their early 20s. Fissures in romances and friendships, pressures of recording careers, the casualties of growing up: Each of these 13 songs is another articulated diary entry, threaded together with scant regard for genre and with the roller-coaster of feeling that gives each tune such specific gravity.
These are familiar topics for Claud, covering some of the same terrain as 2021’s Super
Monster. But there is a newfound confidence to the ideas here, rendered in structures and hooks that do not equivocate as they move from frowning folk to boisterous pop to twisted piano curios. Where Supermodels was rendered mostly in their childhood bedroom, this was cut in a place of their own, with a team of confidants and collaborators building them into resplendent productions. Supermodels takes its name from “Screwdriver.” “You caught me looking at photographs of supermodels,” they sing, voice rising slowly over the elegiac line penned on that free and broken piano. “Trying not to cry when I look back at myself.” It’s a staggering moment, a reminder of the ways we’re all working to stop seeing ourselves as less than and not equal to, to beat back a dozen different insecurities that we try to store in the deepest recesses of our facade. But Claud doesn’t hide anything on Supermodels. They are kernels of despair, redemption, and, ultimately, insight, here to remind us we’re neither the first nor the last to face these blues and keep going.