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Heartland

Client

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Album Review

For their third effort, Client become a three-piece with Client A and Client B joined by new member Client E. Client would probably like you to believe she was assimilated Borg-style into the group, and considering how her contributions are indistinguishable when compared to their earlier albums, it's believable. The wee bit of growth the band displays is right in line with the slow pace they displayed between record one and record two, which might as well have been their titles considering the band's love of starkness and anonymity. Synth-pop flashback music is still the rule, and almost everything seems written towards a clever, edgy comment like "I need someone to hurt" or "I need chains/Don't leave me free/It's six in the morning baby/Dirty minds boys and girls." Delivering these lyrics deadpan over simple melodies is a planned and worthy idea, but the drab arrangements miss an important element Depeche Mode and Erasure rarely forgot in their early, minimal days. Too often detached ventures into disinterested, and when "Hey now now/Where's the rock and roll gone" is offered over an entirely limp synth-beat, it's hard not to scream "Stop! I get it!" All these trying and proudly vapid moments are made even worse when compared to the EP's worth of great ideas included within. A faithful and instantly enjoyable cover of the early Adam & the Ants single "Zerox Machine" is a perfect choice since the lyrics predict bands like Client as irony sits on top of irony while more irony spews out the side. Producer Youth does a great job of reviving the cold sound of the legendary Conny Planck with the live drum throb he adds to the icy "Drive," and the short but shivery "Köln" sounds like some forgotten, Berlin-era Bowie instrumental. Besides the new member, Heartland is the first Client album to arrive courtesy of dark dance and retro wave specialists Metropolis. It's a perfect way to reach synth-pop fetishists and robot girl junkies, the audience the album is entirely aimed at.

Biography

Formed: 2001 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Launched as an anonymous duo, Client were simply known as Client A and Client B when they became the first signings to Andy Fletcher's (of Depeche Mode fame) Toast Hawaii label. Their first single, "Price of Love," mimicked the robotic, bloodless vibe of the '80s era backed by an intensely catchy melody. A second single, "Rock and Roll Machine," attempted a less pop-oriented groove that focused on the seedier side of their persona. Throughout 2003 the group performed live at a few select dates in...
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Heartland, Client
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