new album released Oct 6th
Bonfires On The Heath
from the album - Harvest Time
YouTube - The Clientele - Harvest Time
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 MacLean (guitar and vocals), Innes Phillips (guitar and vocals), James Hornsey (bass), and Howard (drums). Mark Keen replaced the academically occupied Howard toward the end of 1999; Phillips left early on to form the Relict, a group with a varied membership that has occasionally included Clientele members. After debuting on the Fierce Panda label's Cry Me a Liver compilation, the Clientele released a slew of singles, compilation contributions, and EPs in short order. Most significantly, March released A Fading Summer in 2000, an EP that harvested some of the band's hard to find singles and a couple new recordings. Later that year, the full-length Suburban Light (another compilation of previously recorded material) was issued by Pointy.
The band hooked up with Merge in early 2001, which issued Suburban Light in the U.S. months later. The Lost Weekend EP came out on Acuarela in 2002, which was followed a year later by their first proper album and Merge debut, The Violet Hour. Strange Geometry arrived in 2005, and in 2006 the band added keyboardist/violinist/percussionist Mel Draisey to its ranks. God Save the Clientele, which featured production by Mark Nevers of the band's U.S. labelmates Lambchop, was released in spring 2007. Bonfires on the Heath, another release for Merge, was issued during fall 2009.
The Clientele have always been autumnal and very English, and on their fourth album, Bonfires on the Heath, they may have created the most perfect, autumnal, English pop record imaginable. From beginning to end there is a crisp breeze that smells strongly of burning leaves and the fading memories of the revelry of the summer just passed, a feeling of melancholy and quiet but also a pastoral peacefulness that is very soothing. It's something the band has always been able to conjure up with just a few notes from Alasdair MacLean's guitar or just a few lines of his richly warm vocals, but here they seem to be at the very peak of their powers as a band. Perhaps it's the full integration of newest member, Mel Draisey, and her lovely backing vocals and multi-instrumental skills, maybe it's the incredibly precise and chamber-pop-perfect arrangements, or maybe it's just that the group has written its most cohesive batch of songs yet. Of course previous albums have had their share of great songs ("I Can't Seem to Make You Mine" from Strange Geometry, and "Bookshop Casanova" from God Save the Clientele), but this time out the balance of uptempo tracks (something they've continued to add to their repertoire with much success) like "I Wonder Who We Are" and "Share the Night," hazy midtempo strollers like "Never Anyone But You," and hushed ballads like the breathtaking title track, work like a magic spell, and the whole album rushes by dreamily like autumn itself. Unlike the season, which inevitable turns to the bitterness of winter, Bonfires on the Heath can be endlessly replayed. The warmth it conveys is immense, and along with the happiness it provides, the album also shows that the Clientele continue to be one of the best pop bands around in the 2000s.
1 I Wonder Who We Are Clientele, Maclean 04:25
2 Bonfires on the Health Clientele, Maclean 05:11
3 Harvest Time Clientele, Maclean ... 03:50
4 Never Anyone But You Clientele, Maclean 05:30
5 Jennifer and Julia Clientele, Maclean 03:01
6 Sketch Clientele, Maclean 01:30
7 Tonight Berg 03:54
8 Share the Night Clientele, Maclean 03:19
9 I Know I Will See Your Face Clientele, Maclean 03:36
10 Three Month Summers Clientele, Maclean 02:44
11 Graven Wood Clientele, Philips 03:02
12 Walking in the Park Clientele, Maclean 01:38