It's 2007 and you'd think it would be finally time to stop rehashing the 1960's. There are endless bands infinitely compared to X band from the '60s or '70s and how they are just as good. Most of the time the comparisons are tenuous at best, I mean most of that old music is of that era. There can really never be another Zombies, Velvet Underground, Strawberry Alarm Clock or (thankfully) REO Speedwagon. However, The Clientele manage to pay homage to those psychedelic times with an unusual amount of tact and competence that makes me NOT want to immediately turn them off and revel in the silence left behind. Not only that, but their third and latest album, God Save The Clientele, is pretty darn great.
It's rare that a band does their job so well that you don't require them to grow and change; morph into some intense maturation of their past, present and future (eg. Radiohead). But instead, you just want them to do what they do because, well, they do it so superbly. The Clientele are that kind of band and God Save The Clientele is just what you want from them: soft, melodic, echoey songs that remind you of a stroll in pleasant weather. Case in point, "From Brighton Beach to Santa Monica" with its lazy, temperate feel and, of course, the chorus, "Autumn's coming in the air," rhythmically reminds you.
Being their third full length on Merge, the album picks up exactly where Strange Geometry left off. Their placement of Lambchop's Mark Nevers in the production seat is nothing but a perfect fit; he kept the spirit and cleaned it up just a bit (there's a little less reverb at times). The whole album is just as solid and steady as their previous work with Alasdair MacLean's yearning and restrained vocals pushing and pulling you through the album like the ebb and flow of the tide (he also sounds so much like George Harrison at times it's eerie). Further, this record isn't all mellow nostalgia, the album features some great Zombies meets Chad & Jeremy meets Belle & Sebastian pop gems. "Winter On Victoria Street," "Here Comes The Phantom" and "Bookshop Cassanova" are all great songs to listen to on your way to the beach or right when you get out of work and need to get that little bit of extra excitement for the night ahead.
God Save The Clientele isn't a maturation, it's not a departure, it's just The Clientele doing what they do best.
"From Brighton Beach To Santa Monica"