The Lateness of the Hour (album)

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The Lateness of the Hour
Studio album by Alex Clare
Released 8 July 2011
Recorded 2010
Genre Soul, alternative rock, dubstep, drum and bass, electronica
Length 46:19
Label Island Records
Producer Mike Spencer & Major Lazer
Singles from The Lateness of the Hour
  1. "Up All Night"
    Released: 9 December 2010
  2. "Too Close"
    Released: 15 April 2011
  3. "Treading Water"
    Released: 27 May 2011
  4. "Hummingbird"
    Released: 14 December 2012

The Lateness of the Hour is the debut studio album from British singer-songwriter Alex Clare. It was released on 8 July 2011. The album peaked at number 17 on the UK Albums Chart, number 8 on the German Albums Chart and number 48 on the US Billboard 200. The album includes the singles "Up All Night", "Too Close" and "Treading Water".

Background[edit]

All the songs on the album apart from a cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry" were co-written by Alex Clare. Most of these songs were about his personal relationships. According to Clare, they came from "a combination of lots of different situations I’ve been in with unrequited love or love that's gone terribly wrong."[1] "Too Close" for example was inspired by a particular relationship with a close friend that turned romantic but "didn't really work out and that felt too close."[1] Other album tracks like "Whispering" and "Tight Rope" were inspired by his childhood surroundings as well as his love for literature.[2]

The album was released in the UK in 2011, but sold poorly initially and Clare was effectively dropped from his label. A month after he was dropped, he was contacted for permission to use a song from the album, "Too Close", in an advertising campaign for Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9. The ad propelled the song up the chart, and soon after, Universal Republic signed Clare to a distribution deal that allowed The Lateness of the Hour to be rush-released in America on iTunes on 24 March 2012.[2]

Recording[edit]

After Alex Clare signed with Island Records, he teamed up with Diplo and Switch (Major Lazer) in 2010 to collaborate on his debut album.[3] The recording of the album took about 10 weeks in total, working around the Diplo's tour schedule.[4] It was first recorded in New Orleans, then later in the year in Jamaica and eventually five weeks in Los Angeles.[1][2]

Clare wrote the album, and had a handful of songs including "Too Close" already in demo form before hitting the studio.[2] Clare described the experience of recording with Diplo and Switch "intense" but ultimately rewarding.[3] According to Clare, Diplo and Switch "wanted to focus more on live instruments which was something I don't think they're used to," and "It was a challenge for them, a challenge for me and good things came out of it. We clicked very quickly."[2]

Singles[edit]

  • "Up All Night" was released as the album's lead single on 9 December 2010.
  • "Too Close" was released as the album's second single on 15 April 2011 in the UK. In March 2012, the track was selected as the soundtrack to Microsoft's advertisement for Internet Explorer 9, and the single was released in the US.[5] The feature saw the track achieve international success, peaking at number four on the UK Singles Chart and number seven on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • "Treading Water" was released as the album's third single in UK on 27 May 2011.
  • "Hummingbird" was released as the album's fourth single on 14 December 2012.[6]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 58/100[7]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic
(Jon O'Brien)
3/5 stars[8]
Drowned in Sound
(Robert Leedham)
(4/10)[9]
The Independent
(Andy Gill)
4/5 stars[10]
Mojo 4/5 stars[7]
musicOMH
(Ben Hogwood)
3/5 stars[11]
Pitchfork
(Ian Cohen)
(3.7/10)[12]
Uncut 2/5 stars[7]

The album got mixed impressions via Metacritic, which it received a 58-out-of-a-possible-100 points.[7] The Lateness of the Hour got a few favourable ratings from the critics, and those come from Mojo, who gave the album a four-out-of-a-possible-five-stars.[7] They called the album "A majorly impressive debut."[7] Furthermore, the other one came from The Independent, who gave the album a four-out-of-a-possible-five-stars, and Andy Gill said the album was "An impressive debut, albeit one light on lyrical depth."[10]

The mixed reviews came in from AllMusic, who gave the album a three-out-of-a-possible-five-stars, and Jon O'Brien wrote that the album "appears to be more concerned with creating a bold statement of intent than in showcasing Clare's undeniable talents."[8] In addition, Drowned in Sound gave it a mixed impression review with a four-out-of-a-possible-ten, when Robert Leedham stated "All in all, the overriding impression left by The Lateness of the Hour is that Alex Clare is a fairly gifted gentleman. But here his talents have been squandered on a collection of songs that fail to establish him as either a dance-pop titan or an emotive warbler. It is a shame for Clare and even more of a shame that anyone thought dubstep, or several of the genre's hallmarks, could be so crudely co-opted into an obviously unwieldy vehicle. Perhaps he will have better luck with his witch house follow-up."[9] To this, Uncut gave the album a two-out-of-a-possible-five-stars, and they noted "Much of it is a coffee-table approximation of the producer duo's more irreverent work."[7] On a more upbeat note, musicOMH gave the album a three-out-of-a-possible-five-stars because as Ben Hogwood noted "Clare could, then, be accused of trying too hard, and of being difficult to pin down as an artist stylistically. Is it dubstep? In parts. Is it soulful? When it wants to be. But perhaps the most crucial question is whether it shows potential or not – and happily for Clare the answer is affirmative. With a little more focus and a natural approach, he could find himself a unique voice that sits outside of the styles he is trying to embrace."[11]

The lone highly negative review came in from Pitchfork, who gave the album a 3.7-out-of-a-possible-ten points, and Ian Cohen wrote that "...Lateness never does much to prove Clare and his producers were on the same page (let alone reading from the same book)...Truth is, it's much easier getting mad at the marketing plan of Lateness of the Hour than the record itself: The total mismatch of artistic motivation makes everyone involved come off like innocent bystanders, not manipulators."[12]

Chart and sales performance[edit]

The album performed poorly when it was first released in the UK where it debuted at No. 156 in the chart.[13] After the launch of the advert for Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 where the song "Too Close" was used, it sold 10 times better than they imagined it to sell .[13] It peaked at No.17 in the UK chart.

The album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 123 with sales of 4,000 after its rush-release on iTunes in 24 March 2012.[2] It peaked at No. 48.[14]

Track listing[edit]

Standard listing[15][16][17][18]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Up All Night"   Ariel Rechtshaid, Thomas Pentz, Alex Clare, David Taylor 2:43
2. "Treading Water"   Jarrad Rogers, Francis "Eg" White, Clare 3:38
3. "Relax My Beloved"   Clare, Pentz, Rechtshaid, Taylor 3:31
4. "Too Close"   Clare, Jim Duguid 4:17
5. "When Doves Cry"     4:07
6. "Hummingbird"   Rechtshaid, Pentz, Clare, Taylor, Antony Genn, Martin Slattery 3:50
7. "Hands Are Clever"   Clare, White 3:16
8. "Tightrope"   Rechtshaid, Pentz, Clare, Taylor, Genn, Slattery 3:37
9. "Whispering"   Clare, James Lee Homes, Robert Terry Homes 4:30
10. "Love You"   Iyiola Babatunde Babalola, Clare, Darren Emilio Lewis 4:39
11. "Sanctuary"   Clare, Rogers, Genn, Slattery 4:00
12. "I Won't Let You Down"     4:09

Charts[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
position
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[21] 16
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[22] 190
German Albums Chart[23] 8
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[24] 49
UK Albums Chart[25] 17
US Billboard 200[14] 48

Release history[edit]

Country Release date Format Label
United Kingdom 8 July 2011 Digital download[16][19] Island Records
11 July 2011 CD[15]
United States 24 March 2012 Digital download[2]
8 May 2012 CD[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Kia Makarechi (24 July 2012). "Alex Clare & 'Too Close': Singer Talks New Fame, Working With Diplo & Dating Amy Winehouse". Huffington Post. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Andrew Hampp (14 April 2012). "Alex Clare Talks Microsoft Ad, Amy Winehouse & Career Re-Start". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Maeve McDermott (15 July 2012). "Meet Alex Clare, the voice behind 'Too Close'". USA Today. 
  4. ^ Nicole Pajer (24 December 2012). "Alex Clare Plotting New Album for 'Next June'". Billboard. 
  5. ^ "New Internet Explorer Ad featuring singer Alex Clare". Microsoft. 5 March 2012. 
  6. ^ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/humming-bird-single/id584652476
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Lateness of the Hour Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  8. ^ a b O'Brien, Jon (19 July 2011). "The Lateness of the Hour – Alex Clare". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Leedham, Robert (14 July 2011). "Alex Clare: The Lateness of the Hour". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Gill, Andy (8 July 2011). "Album: Alex Clare ,The Lateness of the Hour (Island)". The Independent. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Hogwood, Ben (11 July 2011). "Alex Clare – The Lateness of the Hour". musicOMH. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Cohen, Ian (5 August 2011). "Alex Clare: The Lateness of the Hour". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  13. ^ a b David Whitehouse (19 May 2012). "How a TV ad gave estate agent Alex Clare a second shot at pop". Guardian. 
  14. ^ a b "The Lateness of the Hour – Alex Clare". Billboard. 
  15. ^ a b The Lateness Of The Hour: Alex Clare: Amazon.co.uk: Music
  16. ^ a b iTunes – Music – The Lateness of the Hour by Alex Clare
  17. ^ Alex Clare at puredef.com. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  18. ^ Alex Clare at sharemyplaylists.com. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  19. ^ a b iTunes – Music – The Lateness of the Hour (Deluxe Edition) by Alex Clare
  20. ^ Amazon.com: The Lateness Of the Hour [+video] [+digital booklet]: Alex Clare: MP3 Downloads
  21. ^ "Alex Clare - The Lateness of the Hour" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien.
  22. ^ "Alex Clare – The Lateness of the Hour" (in French). Ultratop.be. Hung Medien.
  23. ^ "Album – Alex Clare, The Lateness of The Hour". Media Control. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  24. ^ "Alex Clare – The Lateness of the Hour". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien.
  25. ^ http://acharts.us/album/70050 Chart history for The Lateness of the Hour
  26. ^ "Amazon.com: Lateness of the Hour: Music".