The ClienteleHopelessly Romantic Indie Pop
Meticulous odes to heartbreak from a slightly more romantic era.
It's rare to find a contemporary indie-rock outfit that can trade so heavily in nostalgia and still manage to sound completely unlike anyone else, but The Clientele is such a band. Emerging at a time when most bands were trying hard to recreate garage rock for the five-millionth time, The Clientele's 2000 debut Suburban Light sounded like long-lost recordings from the '60s. Soaked in reverb and spectral guitar sounds, the sound was both endearingly fey and hopelessly romantic. If it were possible to transform the sound of walking alone at night on a foggy London street into a 3-minute pop song, it would sound a lot like The Clientele. The band has not so much explored a specific sound as it's refined one, resulting in a body of work wholly indistinguishable from any other bands. It's easy to argue that all of The Clientele's albums sound more or less exactly the same -- all chiming guitars and frontman Alasdair MacLean's wistful tales of fading summers and thwarted loves -- but when the recorded results are so generally beautiful, an embarrassment of lovely (if arguably occasionally boring) riches seems like a silly complaint.