The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Back in 2007 we introduced you to Tender Forever, a Bordeaux electro act based in Oregon, USA.

Melanie Valera, a.k.a. Tender Forever

As you might recall, Tender Forever is not a group but the nom de pop of Mélanie Valéra (right) - yes, a mere 'de' short of sharing her name with the dominant public figure of 20th century Ireland. (Our non-Irish readers will know Éamon de Valera as the baddie in the film 'Michael Collins'.)

The PR opportunities in Ireland would have been wonderful - an electronica version of 'Amhrán na bhFiann' to close the next Fianna Fáil Árd-Fheis; a residency at Áras an Uachtaráin; a photo op where she symbolically defends a packet of Boland's cream crackers against an English stag party. (As she's now domicile in the States, her American connection would grant her immunity.) And she's tall, skinny and dark-haired - are we sure they're not related?

Alas, Mélanie Valéra will have to rely on her music to make an impact in Ireland. Fortunately, her music is good. 'No Snare' is the third Tender Forever album: another likeable collection of idiosyncratic alt-folk-flavoured electronica.

The title may suggest an animal trap but is actually inspired by an absent drum sound, according to the Tender Forever MySpace page:

NO SNARE is less a rejection of things that have been, as it a reconfiguration. Take away the snare and there isn't a loss, just a new song. As we pass through the flood of moments that is our lives we make a constant stream of decisions as to what to hold on to and what to let go of.  But it is always our life, even as it changes radically.

Valéra's lyrics tend to be as heartfelt, contemplative and personal as that teenage-poetry blurb suggests. And her pick n' mix of pounding rhythms creates a sense of emotional urgency, which gives her songs a human warmth not always evident in electronic music.

Check out les chansons de Valéra at her MySpace page. Here's our favourite of her new songs, what has all the comely maidens dancing at the crossroads -  the excellent 'Like The Snare That's Gone':

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Nuggets from our archive

2008 - A comprehensive guide to recording an album, written by Andy Knightly (the guide is spread over 4 parts).