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The Clientele - The Lost Weekend ep

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Artist: The Clientele

Album: The Lost Weekend ep

Label: Earworm

Review date: Apr. 30, 2002

The most beautiful things in life are often transient. The short seasons of spring and autumn offer respite from the heat of summer and the chill of winter, and each is flush with a trace of sadness with the knowledge that it will soon be gone. The Clientele are a three-piece from London that make music that evokes such times of sudden wonder. Their music offers a rare, blurred snapshot of the ephemeral beauty that is so seldomly captured in passing. They began making music together in 1997 and have since recorded a multitude of singles, eps and compilation tracks. Their first domestic full-length, Suburban Light, was released on Merge in 2001. It was a collection of songs both new and old, and it gathered some of their harder to find material. Although it featured music from different stages of their musical progress, Suburban Light played out as though it had been recorded in a single afternoon, with dust specks swirling about in the dying sunlight.

Their new five-song ep, The Lost Weekend, is not a deviation from the sound they’ve shaped on previous outings. Instead, it is a furtherance of that sound, built upon through mood and technique that adds a slightly different dimension to their catalog.

The ep begins with “North School Drive,” a stately piano/bass/drums number that showcases Alasdair MacLean’s silvery vocal harmonies and James Hornsey’s melodic and resonant bass lines. The signature of the Clientele’s sound is MacLean’s reverb-soaked, double-tracked vocals, always colored with regret and honey. Like many of the Clienteles’ songs, “North School Drive” is fleeting and gone too quickly. “Boring Postcard” is an audio collage featuring the sounds of choir, subways, and children playing, and unlike many collages, it doesn’t overstay its welcome or beg to be skipped. Instead, it provides a wonderful transition into “Emptily Through Holloway,” which is a leisurely stroll that features MacLean’s ringing, argentine guitar lines. The effect of this song is to expand your microcosmic surroundings into galaxies of warmth and joy. “Kelvin Parade” offers a livelier meter and the feel of walking alone down a bustling city street and watching happy people with detachment. The ep’s closer is “Last Orders,” an elliptical solo piano piece that meanders about before finding a graceful tune. As the title The Lost Weekend implies, this is music for hangovers, for mornings-after spent with your mates, indisposed and mildly drunk, ghostly and lovely.

By Andy Cockle

Other Reviews of The Clientele

The Violet Hour

Strange Geometry

God Save The Clientele

Bonfires on the Heath


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