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Strange Geometry
     

Strange Geometry

by The Clientele
 

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With their arpeggiated guitars, brushed drumming, wistful melodies, and generous washes of reverb, the Clientele make perfect music for anyone who finds romance in a rainy day. Up until recently, the band's output was a series of highly collectable seven-inch singles and EPs (most of which are compiled on the wonderful Suburban Light

Overview

With their arpeggiated guitars, brushed drumming, wistful melodies, and generous washes of reverb, the Clientele make perfect music for anyone who finds romance in a rainy day. Up until recently, the band's output was a series of highly collectable seven-inch singles and EPs (most of which are compiled on the wonderful Suburban Light). That's a perfect format for the London trio; large doses could cause listener fatigue, a problem with their full-length debut, The Violet Hour. That's not the case, however, with Strange Geometry, which strips away some of the gauze to reveal the best Clientele album yet. Maybe it's because the use of a proper producer (Brian O'Shaughnessy) for the first time or the swoon-inducing string arrangements of Louis Phillipe, but more than anything, Strange Geometry's appeal comes from Alasdair McLean's growing confidence as a songwriter and frontman. This can be heard most prominently on the album's brilliant opener, "Since K Got Over Me," a heart-on-the-sleeve number that also cleverly borrows just enough of the Crystals' "Then He Kissed Me" to make you smile. The group's sharpened élan continues throughout -- from the sparkling "E.M.P.T.Y." and "Impossible" till the vibrato fades on the gentle closer, "Six of Spades." McLean still sings about the rain, but the Clientele have finally come out from behind the clouds.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
Rebounding after the ever-so-slightly samey feel of The Violet Hour, Strange Geometry reinvigorates the Clientele's literate, wistful indie-pop with fresh doses of emotion, invention and wit. As the Arthur Machen quote in the album's liner notes suggests, Strange Geometry is as much about London as it is about introspection and lost love: virtually every song on the album makes characters out of the tenement lines, gardens, trees, streets and buildings that make up the city. In fact, these songs are so thematically tight that they resemble a collection of poems and short stories set to music, particularly on the largely spoken-word "Losing Haringey," a break-up note to London with wonderfully evocative lyrics like "I was in an underexposed photo of 1982." All kinds of clever and experimental details decorate Strange Geometry, from the distant, operatic vocals that introduce "K" to the guitar melody that quotes the Crystals' "Then He Kissed Me" on "Since K Got Over Me." Fortunately, though, these extra bursts of creativity don't distract from the essential beauty of these songs. On both livelier tracks like "My Own Face Inside the Trees" and "E.M.P.T.Y." (which boasts bubblegum-psych string flourishes and fuzzy guitars) and immaculately groomed ballads like the soft, sweet sadness of "(I Can't Seem to) Make You Mine" and "Step Into the Light," the Clientele have rarely sounded better. Despite a few sleepy moments on the album's second half, Strange Geometry has more flair and movement than Violet Hour, and perfects the band's ability to be uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/11/2005
Label:
Merge Records
UPC:
0036172956722
catalogNumber:
267
Rank:
88341

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