“I’m a twentysomething / Don’t you think it’s about time?” Chicago singer-songwriter Claudia Ferme, aka Claude, sighs on “Twenty Something,” which opens her debut full-length, A Lot’s Gonna Change (American Dreams). The track breathes and pulses through dream-pop heaven with swirling, chiming guitars and distant, mellow horns. It’s meant to be redolent of a certain time of life—the yearning and molting of the 20s. But the album also feels like a retro excursion into 80s and 90s British indie rock; the music is on par with classics by the Sundays, Lush, and Mazzy Star in the way it sways and emotes. Slow-dissolving the present into the past isn’t a contradiction of dream pop so much as the whole point: What is dream pop if it’s not hazy vibes and longing for a moment you never had? If you answered, “It’s sweet hooks and winsome lyrics”—well, Claude’s got those too. The should-be-a-hit-single “What’re You on Tonight” patters through twee bliss with an indelible melody as Claude sings with heartfelt disconnection, “I’ve got a good outfit on / We could go to our favorite spot / Run into people we’d rather not.” It’s the bored pose of kids who’ve heard all the songs with the bored poses and are thrilled to devise their own. A Lot’s Gonna Change sounds familiar, but that just means that it’s an album for twentysomethings of every age.
Claude’s A Lot’s Gotta Change is available through Bandcamp.