Single of the week: Clara Mann – I Didn’t Know You Were Leaving Today

by Tobias Moore

An exemplar of songwriting in its purest form, with latest release I Didn’t Know You Were Leaving Today, Bristol-based artist Clara Mann’s first release with Sad Club Records leaves you questioning if she’s been plucked from the 19th century – such is the sense of heritage within the piece.

Classically trained, Mann’s development of texture is wholly organic. Much like the branches and leaves that stem freely from the trunk of a tree, each layer of instrumentation that Mann entwines within her aural world feels natural – and the presence of each and every single note is noticed. Each melody is a living, breathing being.

As if spoken from the nostalgia-tinged lips of grandparents, Mann’s vocals possess a timeless sense of warmth. Vulnerable yet assured in her expression of sorrow and isolation, Mann’s ability to deliver a performance of such maturity, so early in her career, is indicative of a musical, or perhaps even cultural proficiency far beyond her years.

Deeply hazed, yet deceptively illuminating, Mann paints a melancholy across her music that both soothes and startles in synchrony. Restful, the tranquil rockabye combination of Mann’s vocals and gentle guitar is lullaby-like in its ability to calm.

Despite the pensive undertones of her lyricism, there’s a mellow innocence that plays out in the track, which is a landscape, both vivid yet faded, like a faded painting still full of wonder left to hang in a cafe past its prime; Mann’s delivery of narrative is one that invokes intrigue from its subtleties.

A track that already possesses a sense of legacy that many wait years to find, if one thing stands clear from Mann’s musical reemergence, it’s that her knack for storytelling is clearly innate.

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