The Claudettes: Infernal Piano Plot…Hatched!

Drummer Michael Caskey and pianist Johnny Iguana were in search of a gig when they came across Claudette’s Bar on the outskirts of Chicago in 2010, where they were quickly hired as the house band. When the bar closed in 2011, former owner and the pair’s namesake Claudette became the duo’s manager and began landing them gigs at unconventional locations—like a Blockbuster—as well as other bars where she sold her own drinks and other items on the stage in an attempt to pay off debt. While Caskey and Iguana have led somewhat successful careers (Caskey is a Detroit Music Award winner and Iguana has toured and recorded with Chicago cult band Oh My God), Infernal Piano Plot…Hatched! is the pair’s first release together.

The two affectionately describe their sound as “cosmic cartoon music,” which may be the best way to characterize their style, as it often seems to be a better fit for a television show’s soundtrack rather than a bar. The album’s opener, “Stumblin’ Home Satisfied,” as well as “Tremblin’ Blues,” have a strong jazz and honky-tonk vibe to them, reminiscent of a different era. The title-track particularly stands out on the record. Manic and rhythmic, the piano takes on a melodic lead before reverting back to the original riff that starts and closes out the song.

Infernal Piano Plot…Hatched! lacks vocals, and as with most instrumental full-lengths, walks a fine line between staying engaging and becoming monotonous. However, the duo make a point to keep it intriguing by bouncing between several different genres, even experimenting with the tango. But most importantly, the LP is successful in showcasing The Claudettes’ strange charm, which judging by their formation and self-perception, is what they have been aiming for all along.

In A Word: Quirky