THE CLIENTELE, "Strange Geometry"
With so much attention directed at post-punk British acts such as Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs, London's the Clientele may be unfortunately destined for the margins.With so much attention directed at post-punk British acts such as Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs, London's the Clientele may be unfortunately destined for the margins. Their music is dreamy pop with nostalgic references to the 1960s, where love is sometimes sunny, sometimes dreary, but always something of concern. Not exactly body-moving anthems, but in terms of songwriting and presentation, the Clientele is probably the U.K.'s best export at the moment, albeit the quietest.
"Strange" Geometry is the group's second proper album, a follow up to 2003's "The Violet Light." That release was solid, but not quite what fans of the brilliant singles collection "The Suburban Light" had hoped for. This one, however, is. The album weaves through narratives of attainment, paranoia and geometrical confusion -- a man's journey through urban life and a breakup, where feelings change almost inevitably, like day changing to night (which is also a reoccurring theme).
The addition of a string section and acoustic guitar provide added depth on tracks like the stellar "Geometry of Lawns," "Impossible" and "E.M.P.T.Y.," while the band's trademark chime sounds better than ever on opener "Since K Got Over Me" and the largely instrumental "K" (noticing a theme here?). Another new twist is the Pulp-style spoken word confessional "Losing Haringey," set to some of the prettiest music of the Clientele's career.
If it sounds sad and depressing, it's somehow not. In the end, "Strange Geometry" is a hauntingly beautiful album with tender, melodic pop arrangements that really make a lasting impression. Like Nick Drake, who has clearly been an influence on the band's sound, the Clientele has quietly amassed a superb catalog with little fanfare.