She’s Got Claws’ Synthetic Emotion concept EP is what would happen if some scientist blended the DNA of Robyn’s “Fembot” and most of Gary Numan’s late 1970s/early 1980s output. (There’s actually a Numan song called “She’s Got Claws” from that era, which is probably at least somewhat intentional.)
Over the fascinating collection’s four songs, the rhythms are sparse and danceable, atop which the cold, minimalist synthesizers weave paradoxically intricate arrangements that are both catchy and warm while seeming apathetic to any sort of outcome.
Claws delivers her vocals in Numan’s trademark detached fashion throughout the record, but there is a change in delivery that seems tied to the narrative. At first, on “I Die For You,” the vocals approach a territory that’s a bit overly mechanistic, somewhat like that robot daughter on 80s sitcom Small Wonder. It fits the story, but it can be a little off-putting.
However, Claws soon takes on more of the melodic robotics of Robyn, and by the EP’s closer, “Utopia,” she injects just enough humanity into the experiment to make this more of a cyborg affair. No longer is it just the synthesizers picking up whatever emotional slack that exists.
That progression from machine expressions to human flair is no accident. The staccato opener, “Die,” focuses on the main character’s devotion to her creator, and as the EP progresses through “Hurtbeat” and “Manchine,” the main character steadily vows to take on human qualities to be more like her creator, even as the creator dies and needs to be revived as a machine.
By the end, their “Utopia” is a merging of the finer qualities of human and machine in each party. The creator and the created have pulled off a compelling micro-journey into the ultimate expression of empathy, albeit from different perspectives.
The EP is coming out on July 4. In the meantime, sample the promo edits: