The Clientele God Save The Clientele

[Merge; 2007]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: chamber pop, indie pop
Others: Galaxie 500, Belle & Sebastian, Arab Strap

It’s fair to classify each record by English dream-pop group The Clientele as “growers.” Consistent perhaps to a fault, each of their records to date have been wistful, reverb-drenched, sighing affairs. As such, even the group’s best records -- my favorite is 2005's Strange Geometry -- will be take-it-or-leave-it for most listeners; the constant wash of reverb, weepy strings, and singer Alasdair MacLean’s lilting intonations can be a bit frustrating at times.

That said, the instrumentation isn’t the only consistent thing about The Clientele -- the band also write reliably great songs. God Save the Clientele is more of the same for the group’s fans, who will find the record near-faultless. There are more upbeat numbers here than the last time out: “Here Comes the Phantom” and especially “Bookshop Casanova” are modestly rollicking numbers, while “The Queen of Seville” is as good an example as any of the band’s bread-and-butter balladry.

It will be interesting to see if or when The Clientele decide to veer further into polished pop-rock territory or bank off into more psychedelic realms. For the moment, however, most listeners will be satisfied with another lovely record to soak up.

Most Read