Review Summary: God Save the Clientele is a good, highly relaxing, example of 60's influenced Indie Pop. God Save the Clientele
is pretty much the antithesis of energetic. Sure, it isn’t exactly boring
, per say, but even the thought of getting up and dancing during an album like this is repulsive. Don’t get me wrong, the fathers (and namesake) of this album, The Clientele, are far from a bad band, just like God Save
isn’t a bad record, just a bit too relaxed maybe. No, instead of a ‘band band’, The Clientele are an Indie-Pop quartet of British-born folks who, being signed to the ultra hip Merge Records, are beginning to find their way into the hearts of many American-born, Indie-Pop friendly folks.
One of the very first things to be noticed about the music on God Save the Clientele
is the distinct 60’s influence. Mixing the guitar-pop sounds of bands like The Zombies and The Monkees with an affinity for more modern Post-Punk/Shoegaze acts like Felt and Television, The Clientele create a very dense (but hardly heavy) form of Pop music. The album’s biggest 60’s throwback and perhaps the only song that could really contradict my opening statement is Bookshop Casanova
. Bookshop, like much of the album, is held up and driven by a bubbly bass line and equally bright drum part. Everything contributed from Singer/Guitarist Alasdair MacLean is doused in reverb, from his breathy, honest, vocals to the staccato guitar chords he plays throughout the verses.
Yes, reminiscent of contemporaries, My Morning Jacket, it seems The Clientele love, above all else, reverb. Reverb coats each track, creating a dreamy atmosphere, but really there isn’t anything experimental about The Clientele. Their pop sensibilities shine through on almost every track. Because of this pop sensibility, songs like opener Here Comes the Phantom
are very reminiscent of The Beatles or, for a more modern example, The Shins (though MacLean’s crooning on songs like Isn’t Life Strange
is far from the yelping of Shins vocalist James Mercer). The addition of keyboardist/violinist Mel Draisey also does a bit to distance The Clientele from their Sub Pop signed peers. Her playing on album highlight From Brighton Beach to Santa Monica
is subtle, yet very pretty, much like the rest of her contributions. Much like the rest of the album, come to think of it.
So maybe “the antithesis of energetic” is a little harsh, it isn’t like your dealing with classical music here. God Save the Clientele
is a good record: mellow, pretty and, at times, quite fun. “Moshing” to it may be way out of the question, but who doesn’t enjoy a good sit every now and then? Maybe you can even get a head bop out of the experience.