So that summer came and went and I became cold
Tweet I'm partial to a bit of twinkly, autumnal guitar pop with a side helping of introspection this time of the year. The sort of music that mopes around in a duffel coat and couldn't fight its way out of a bag because of its underdeveloped wrists. The Clientele fit this brief perfectly. Get this, they formed at school because the lead singer Alasdair McClean noticed that the boy who would later become the band's bass player, James Hornsey, had 'Felt' written on a pencil case. How spectacularly fucking soppy, indie-schmindie is that? It's amazing, like one of the more simpering anecdotes that crop up in Los! Campesinos' songs from time-to-time, except in real life! Anyway before I continue along this line and make them sound about as appealing as something wet that got sneezed out of Belle and Sebastian, I'll get 'round to the music. The Clientele make slow-burning albums of mournful, dreamlike pop. Their music is heavily influenced by latter-day yank shoegazers Galaxie 500, except the thick, tarry guitar work of that band is supplanted by something a little more loose fitting and jangly (think the Byrds growing up in a dreary London suburb). They have breathy, reverby vocals and McClean sings with a sonorous poeticism that makes his voice one of my favourites in rock. There's something a bit French about it. Like he sits outside cafés sucking on unfiltered fags, hoping to catch a cold before he hits the recording studio with the lads. I mentioned earlier in a blog about Animal Collective that I am not much of a lyrics person, preferring the nature derived abstraction of Animal Collective to the well-worn themes of love, loss and life in lauded lyricists such as Bob Dylan. The Clientele are another one of the few bands I utterly and completely get lyrically. Their lyrics and music combine to form a very impressionistic and consistent body of work that deals with a sort of foggy, half-lit nostalgia. Light and shade are a big part of it. The light in their songs is often changing from day to evening, with streetlights turning on, and the sky changing colour (one of their albums is called 'the violet hour' another 'suburban light'). Shadows fall across country lanes, balloons hover frozen in a bright sky, the evening paints the street. Time also, is central to The Clientele's mysterious lyrical charms. Songs continually refer to the passing of seasons, the death of the day, and dates are repeatedly mentioned. So much so, that listening to one of their records can be like getting trapped in the TV show 'Quantum Leap' constantly moving between points of significance in one man's past. Imagine slowly flicking through an album of blurry Holga photos of time gone by, the smell of the old pages, smiling faces now grown old. It's a bit like that, a bit Proustian. Its the musical equivalent of that not-quite-real moment around this time of year when you walk out the door and, in the dim light, realise for the first time that the season has changed. There are love songs too, but for me they are secondary to their sensual backdrops. Afterthoughts. I got dumped so I'm going to wallow in the deep, evocative backdrop of my relationship's messy end. OK I've shited on enough. The last thing I can say is that yes, they are a bit samey on first listen. But as Mark E. Smith knows, if you can repeat something so perfect and idividual, why change? I love The Clientele. So much so that I'm going throw five of their songs at ya! MP3: The Clientele-My own face inside the trees MP3: The Clientele-the violet hour MP3: The Clientele-Rain MP3: The Clientele-Reflections after Jane MP3: The Clientele-House on Fire Finally, if you are going to fight like apes this week, enjoy it yis jammy bastards. Betchya it's going to be a lock-down for Irish gig of the year. Ch-ch-check out this rowdy video for stonker choon 'Jake Summers'! The bit with the lift is inspired.