For their follow-up to 05's stunning Strange Geometry, London space pop ensemble the Clientele hunkered down in Nashville with Lambchop guitarist/engineer Mark Nevers. Considering Nevers's experience recording and mixing chamber arrangements for his own band and the Clientele's affinity for lacing their dreamy glassine tunes with cumulonimbus swirls of featherweight strings, it would seem like a match made in heaven.
Not quite. God Save The Clientele maintains the group's lush, languid melodies, bright bursts of falsetto and chimes and guitars that ring for measures after the note was first sounded. But it's lacking the melancholic darkness that added substance to Strange Geometry. Too much U.S. sunshine, not enough London fog.
For the first half of the album, you feel like you're watching a movie entirely composed of round, friendly shapes, all childlike murmurs and major-key melodies. It's not till the one-two punch of Bookshop Casanova and the psychedelic fantasy The Garden At Night that the tunes develop sharp, angled edges.
The Clientele swoon at the El Mocambo Monday (June 4).