Brooklynite Elizabeth Harper’s first musical offerings appeared in the form of personal singer/songwriter fare — her airy vocals paired only with quiet strums of acoustic guitar. But having a long-held desire to make electronic music, Harper recruited producers Mark Richardson and Scott Rosenthal to assist in achieving her desired sound, and electro-pop outfit Class Actress was born. The trio wasted no time in assembling their Journal of Ardency EP, which Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor released on his Terrible Records imprint in early 2010. The five songs circulated widely, garnering acclaim and comparisons to Human League, Depeche Mode, and early Madonna at each music journal stop.
Now settled in with the folks at Carpark, Harper and co. put forth their debut long-player, Rapprocher. The album sees her playing a similar part to Journal’s playful lovelorn diva, but it pushes the EP’s proto-electro revisionism into new directions. Tracks like “Love Me Like You Used To” and “Hanging On” swaddle the record’s heavy disco beats in diaphanous sheets of delay, and the bouncing bass of “Weekend” make it a prime candidate for a feel-good summer hit.
Harper remains the force that binds the songs into a cohesive statement, her winking coo darting about in the deep drums and lofty arpeggios, and her passion – backed mostly with electronics– summons thoughts of Yaz’s Alison Moyet. In concurrence with the title (“rapprocher”is French for “bring closer”), the candid, sincere lyrics meld with the atmosphere, enveloping the listener into Class Actress’s world of 21st century romanticism.