kissatlanta.com and OK Productions present:
Maybe the morning after your first intimate encounter, or following your first hangover, or after you broke someone?s heart for the first time, somewhere along the line you might have realized that your innocence is gone. The playground doesn?t call you anymore, a new pair of shoes doesn?t fix your life like it used to and kissing lost its place at the center of your romantic attention. No therapist or doctor can bring back the carefree bliss, erase the fears and paranoias and return the shine to your Radio Flyer. But I have good news: There?s a way back. There?s a brand new coat and a first kiss waiting for you inside a little band from England called The Clientele.
The threesome lauded by cultish fans around the world is no spring chicken compared to most of the fleeting artists popping heads in for hits. Troop leader Alesdair MacLean began writing the music featured on the band?s cache of singles and EP?s years before releasing many of those same tracks as the debut full length "Suburban Light" in 2000. The critical acclaim from that album carried on to their next full length "The Violet Hour", released in 2003 on Pointy Records in the UK and Merge Records in the US. Although the band reflects on the almost unbearable obscurity among Brits in their early days, eventually their countrymen would catch on, though Alesdair credits American interest with much of their success. Verbalizing an echoing symptom among those introduced to the band, Merge Records Mac McCaughan remembers, "I just kept going back to it, and the more we listened, the more we realized how unique it was and just how good those songs are".
Currently on tap is the band?s biggest tour of the U.S. supporting fellow Merge super-heros Spoon as they put finishing touches on their highly anticipated third album. Besides the biggest promotion they?ve seen for any of their releases, The Clientele has also commissioned the French musical renaissance man Louis Philippe to conduct a strings quartet on the album. Philippe is something of a dream that even big european artists eagerly court for his touch thus critics and fans expect this album, titled Strange Gemometry, to be The Clientele's breakthrough work.
Does the music of The Clientele haunt or does it enlighten? Maybe both accurately describe. Guitars flow through both albums with gentle melodies and subtle layers including sleepy slide guitars and smooth organ lines gliding in and out of songs. Recorded completely on vintage equipment, the playful basslines and no-nonsense drums combined with Alesdair?s heavenly vocals drowned in the most perfect combination of long reverb and delay could not be more appropriate for each other. And who better to pen lyrics for music as seamless and unique than a literary scholar such as Alasdair. The words seem to have escaped from inner memoirs, relating juvenile views of neighborhood walks and longings for gentle and pure expressions of love.
In the end, the feeling is of lush 60?s pop, and that?s what you would tell a friend as you hand them The Clientele. You can?t tell them how relaxed and unhurried every track is or how there aren?t really any hooks or classic structures. Soon enough they will understand that The Clientele are masters of unforced music. They don?t worry about innovation or progress as much as atmosphere and perspective. In time, your friend will probably join the rest of the Clientele faithful; taking trips down quiet lanes, pressing their younger faces up against frosted windows, and skipping class again for the first time. Listen after listen the music of The Clientele will succeed where your own memories have failed; to take you back to innocence.
*KISS* Atlanta was fortunate enough to get in contact with Alasdair MacLean, singer-guitarist for The Clientele. Continue reading for his responses to questions about touring, writing, and influences.
How many times have you toured the US? How were the tours and what is your perception of touring the US vs England or Europe?
We've toured the US at least twice before. It's great, what can I say? The Clientele would have disbanded long ago without America. We always have fun.
So I heard that the music on Suburban Light and The Violet Hour were composedover something like nine years. Is this true? How do you look at music you've written years ago but still perform today?
I wrote Suburban Light in my early 20s, I had writers block for a couple of years, then wrote most of the Violet Hour over the course of the year before we recorded it. So all those songs were written between 1996-2003, but mostly in two concentrated sessions. I dislike writing, I'm not someone who can bear constantly sitting noodling on a guitar, for some reason I find it really mind numbing and stressful, so I only write when I really need to write. I generally like playing the old songs; I see performing as
something really different from writing, more disciplined and precise, more like a craft. It can be quite soothing.
Your recordings are a model of lush classic analog recording. What might you say are methods or standards that you keep in the front of your mind when recording/capturing your music?
You have to try and capture a feeling, an atmosphere. whether its an atmosphere of exhiliration or dreaminess or a weird sort of standing in a creepy garden centre at Xmas feeling, the atmosphere is the most important thing. It doesn't matter how you achieve it, but if it's there people will get something from the record, they'll see something in there that they recognise, which will make them feel that the music is theirs too. i think that's the only necessity; the fun of making records is that there are
a million ways to try to get there.
The new album: Did you seek out Louis Philippe or the other way around? What was it like working on the album with him?
Louis, and his local wine bar are actually responsible for the hangover putting me in fear of my life at this very moment: I've known his records for ages, but after hearing what he did with Martin Newell's 'Arcadian Boys' I knew I would want to get him involved as an arranger as soon as I had a budget that wouldn't insult him. I loved working with him, it's really the first time I've trusted someone to arrange or alter my songs, but I knew with his harmonic gift he would come up with something superb, which he did. I was also really inspired by his 100% devotion to his work: watching his complete attention and concentration as he was conducting the string quartet. That's the sort of person you want to work with, who sees music as a matter of life and death.
Music as a matter of life and death... we couldn't agree more.
The Clientele opens for Spoon at The Variety Playhouse wednesday night. If you talk during this show and you're anywhere near us... expect your picture to be posted the next day along with a not-so-nice paragraph ridiculing you.
We highly recommend buying these CD's immediately:
Added by kissatlanta on September 6, 2005