It’s easy to see why classically-inspired pop hit makers Clean Bandit broke into Billboard’s top 10 with their single “Rather Be” this week – the song is infectious, grabbing you with its layers of house-inspired drum work, warbling synth, crisp strings, and over it guest vocalist Jess Glynne’s clear, soulful voice. Clean Bandit is comprised of Jack Patterson, Patterson’s brother Luke on drums, Grace Chatto, and Milan Neil Amin-Smith, and started when Jack Patterson, Chatto, and Amin-Smith met while studying at Jesus College at the University of Cambridge. Chatto and Amin-Smith were leading a string quartet at the time, and this influence permeates Clean Bandit’s unique fusion of house, pop, classical and electronic.
Jack Patterson has said that the band tries not to see boundaries between genres, and New Eyes definitely achieves that. Clean Bandit does a very good job of pulling listeners in with their glossy, well-thought-out music videos, which are said to be such a part of the writing process that they are conceived at the same time. Chatto has even started a film production company called Cleanfilm with Patterson, so that they can continue to make elaborate music videos for themselves and other artists. It’s a good move that ties their visual appeal in with a very solid album.
I was especially grabbed by “Birch”, the very last track on the album. It was a good choice to make Birch the last track, since the slow crescendo of the strings paired with guest vocalist Eliza Shaddad’s haunting voice will continue to echo in your head long after the album has ended. I highly recommend that anyone who is a fan of pop, house and classical fusion check this album out.