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Strange Geometry

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iTunes Review

The U.K.’s Clientele specialize in a somber melancholia that immediately conjures up the feeling of an afternoon tea observing an English rain. The band’s obvious key ‘60s influences — Left Banke, Marianne Faithfull, Beatles, Kinks — are set back and relaxed to loping rhythms that never feel the need to modernize or speed up to today’s technology. Instead, singer Alasdair MacLean recounts his aimless wanderings — the ever-present rain — with seductive melodies that have the same breezy feeling as the images that go fleeting past. Much like Trembling Blue Stars’ Robert Wratten, MacLean is a lovelorn slacker who uses music to create the romance that always seems to be slipping through his fingers. His group’s third album is higher-fi than the debut (Suburban Light) and less monochromatic than the follow-up (The Violet Hour). The addition of strings to the band’s mix of jangly guitars, pianos, and organs adds a soothing touch, as the austere beauty of “I Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” bears out.

Customer Reviews

Pleasant But Repetitive Ear Candy

Twelve solid midtempo shoegazer pop songs. However, when listening to them straight through they all tend to sound the same. The first two songs are available as free downloads ("Since K Got Over Me" and "I Can't Seem To Make You Mine") on their website; the other ten don't deviate significantly from the style of the first two. If you like this sort of thing, buy it, but if you're on a budget, stick with the free stuff.

strange geometry

This time around, the Clientele have definately moved on up in the producing efforts!! It's nice to see an excellent shoegazer group excel and give me more music i can obsess about. I still wish they had kept the eeirie reverbrated vocals on this one though; yet the sound, song complexity ring true Clientele. Yum! Yum! Supertasty.... Oh yeah, I want one of those fab Tele's...

A Little Perfect Thing.

Individually the tracks range from good (Geometry) to classic (Since K Got Over Me). The strength of the record, though, is in the narrative. "Strange Geometry" is a sort of low-key Herman's Hermits type sound charged up with a little bit of wall-of-sound string and reverb. You won't be struck with newness or innovation. Indeed, I thought I heard a Chiffons sample from "and then he kissed me" on "Since K Got Over Me." But none of that really speaks to a five-star rating. It is difficult to explain the pleasant, vaguely sedative effect the songs have on me. There's a real sweetness to the diction and phrasing the singer employs. "I Can't Seem To Make You Mine," as a pop composition, comes as close to the detached, utter disbelief and depression that the realization of failure in love make you feel as any song I know of. We're not talking about let's go out and party-type music here. It is melancholy, but self-conscious melancholy - and it never crosses the line into melodrama. This and the new Shins are my favorite albums so far this year. And I never write reviews, so I thought I would. Thanks.


Formed: 1997 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Retrofitted pop band the Clientele had obvious roots in the hazy, autumnal glare of Galaxie 500 and Felt. Just as those bands took their Velvet Underground and Television records to heart without being derivative, the Clientele were able to chalk up an extensive discography riddled with lush melodies of their own without sounding like a tribute band. Think of your favorite '60s pop band and odds are they're in the Clientele's blood. The London-based band formed in mid-1997, consisting of Alasdair...
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