Why you should see Clean Bandit with



Madeline McCarthy


“Rather Be” by Clean Bandit was an international hit. It was the third fastest-selling single of 2014, and won the Best Dance Recording category at the 2015 Grammy Awards. With such phenomenal success, you would think that people would know other songs by the artist, or would be at least slightly interested in the album that followed. Although the full debut album of Clean Bandit, “New Eyes” peaked at No. 3 on the UK Albums Chart and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry, its American success was less than ideal. This album definitely deserved more US recognition.

All of the band members play instruments such as the piano, drums, cello and violin, instead of relying on computer-generated sound. They are a very unique band, mixing electronic music with classical pieces by composers such as Mozart. 

They produce their own music and frequently feature guest artists in their songs, which gives the guest artists a boost and strengthens artist relationships. Their name is based off of a translation of a Russian phrase; the meaning is similar to the English phrase “utter rascal.”

Clean Bandit is a very genuine band, and its debut album, “New Eyes,” was stellar. It is a band that is mostly based around their sound as a combination of classical instruments and techno sounds, so it is understandable that its lyrics could not be identified as a musical Shakespearian conquest. It was its own tongue-in-cheek humorous style, however. The song “Mozart’s House” mocks people that don’t like electronic music because it is repetitive, by being extremely repetitive and stereotypical. It’s a very sarcastic move that I appreciate. A lot of the lyrics are also simply about relationships, love and the usual artist conundrum, but without taking that sad, heart-broken approach. The whole album is just happy and uplifting overall.

The overall sound of Clean bandit’s album is very similar to its biggest hit single, “Rather Be.” Almost all of the songs rely on a really unique mix between string instruments, piano, a synth keyboard and drums. Sometimes the songs will start off with one genre, and make you think that you’re going to listen to a very nicely done Mozart piece. Next thing you know, a beat kicks in and it sounds like the Tron soundtrack, but in a good way. 

If I had to identify its sound by comparing it to another artist, I would say it is like if Daft Punk played violin. The only negative I would find about its song is the worry that the techno beats would get a little annoying after a while.

After listening to the whole album, many songs stood out to me as fantastic. And despite the same instruments being used in every track, I could easily differentiate between them all. My favorite overall in the album besides “Rather Be” would be the song “Real Love.” This song featured Jess Glynne (the woman who sang in “Rather Be”), and her beautiful vocals added to the song wonderfully. 

The classical piano and violin, combined with the beat that picks up in the chorus made for a really fun jam. The chorus lyrics don’t have much complexity, but they’re super catchy and creates a very euphoric mood. 

“Come Over” is another favorite of mine, mostly because of the reggae sound and the pretty auto tuned girl voice. It is a more noticeably techno song, but it still includes orchestra and band music. The flirty tone makes for a good party hit. “Extraordinary” has a slow start, and makes me think of a techno ballad song. 

The beat picks up in the chorus, but there is still emotion behind it. The singer, Sharma Bass, is heartbroken, and needs consolation and reassurance. She sings it in a way that isn’t whiny or needy, but still very touching. And of course, “Rather Be” rocked my world. 

It’s the kind of song you listen to while skipping down a road, or imagining a happy road trip montage. It sounds very young, wild and free, and I love it.

Overall, Clean Bandit is a group to watch out for in the future. Its debut album, “New Eyes,” deserves a second look over, as it is catchy, unique, and a great start for its musical career. I would give the album 4.5 out of 5 stars.