Local Wire

The Clientele

Remarkably lovely U.K. trio The Clientele, whose sound primarily falls somewhere between the bright psych-pop of late-'60s Britain and the lush jangle-chime of L.A.'s '80s Paisley Underground scene, pulls off the rare, swell trick of reminding you of literally dozens of artists — the late Arthur Lee, Dream Syndicate, Mercury Rev, Felt, Lightning Seeds, Galaxie 500, Nick Drake, The Byrds, Belle & Sebastian, Colin Blunstone, and The Smiths among them — while offering songs that are far greater than merely the sum of those influences. Credit goes to front man Alasdair MacLean for using his wistful, breathy voice to deliver literate and evocative lyrics that speak of love, loss, and nights spent wandering the streets of London, without resorting to cliché. And The Clientele isn't interested in a time-capsule vibe on its recent Strange Geometry — ample use of reverb and strings projects a classic warmth, yet the band's sumptuous arrangements and the album's production quality are thoroughly modern. If the band is even half as good live as it is on disc, you're in for a major treat.
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Michael Alan Goldberg