Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Delicate Beauty of the Clientele

SOME days my favorite newish british band is the clientele, a group from england's beautiful south who create an eerie, lonely sound rooted in chiming guitars. they are as english as nick drake but also rooted in west coast light psychedelia of the 1960s -- arthur lee and love, the byrds, perhaps the beach boys or mamas and the papas. they have been over-compared to belle & sebastian because of some shared influences; i dont think the groups sound all that much alike.

HERE is the new album from the band, which merge records is streaming for now. it comes out today.

when i want stomping guitars and extroversion, i turn to british sea power, my other fave brit band that hasnt entirely broken in US. but the clientele create something hazy and introspective -- check out the title track, "bonfires on the heath." as someone who's spent a fair bit of time in england, their music makes me think of wandering alone on the gently rolling hills of the south downs, or through the greener-than-green hampstead heath itself.

they play joe's pub in new york on oct. 29. still remember their troubadour show in LA a few years back. (they had just added a hot cello or viola player with a great 60s bardot-inspired haircut as i recall.)

so far my favorite LP is "strange geometry," with the wonderful song "since k got over me." i also like their folk-rocky "reflections after jane." i dont love it when they pump their sound up or amp up the production to make it less intimate, so i wasnt crazy about "god save the clientele." still digging into the new one -- what do my readers think?

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