Monday, October 1, 2007

Better Late Than Never: Newish Old Album Reviews

Oct. 1, and I'm already eagerly anticipating our end-of-the-year list of top albums (especially now that Radiohead is releasing their album next week). As we approach the final quarter of 2007, I want to give love to some fabulous albums we've yet to review.

In no particular order, except for alphabetical:

The Clientele - God Save the Clientele

(Merge, 2007)

Grade: 85%

"The Garden at Night"

I've been a fan of the Clientele since downloading the hauntingViolet Hour in preparation to see them open for Spoon in 2005. At first listen, the Clientele may seem like one-trick ponies. Every track features jangly guitars, swelling violins, Alasdair MacLean's distinctive reverb-laden vocals. Repeat listenings are mandatory: the songs sound similar because the band has honed its unique aesthetic. It's the subtle anomaly that differentiates the tracks on a Clientele album, and makes listening to them rewarding.

This description certainly would be true of both The Violet Hour and follow-up Strange Geometry, though on God Save the Clientele we see a new Clientele emerge. Long gone is the uniform bleakness that marked the previous releases. At long last we have a Clientele album suitable for summer evenings, for happy moods, for wistful daydreaming. Give "Winter on Victoria Street," "Bookshop Cassanova," or "The Garden At Night" a spin, and you may find yourself dancing, or maybe just emphatically tapping a loafer.

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