The Clientele are an old band back from a lengthy hiatus and just in time to rescue all of indiedom from the precipice of landfill.Strangely they have always been more 'popular' Stateside, which I can't quite fathom. Clearly their subtleties are not lost on a discerning public?
Anyway, if articulate, literate, embellished indie pop music is your thing then look no further. Back catalogue not included. Perhaps the key difference to previous albums is the inclusion of Santoor (Iranian dulcimer) by Anthony Harmer who was also a fundamental player in the arrangements on this album. "Falling Asleep" is a case in point, stretching out like an endless summer day, full of promise.
Some critics have pointed out the non-coincidence of this album being released on the first day of autumn. That somehow this band evoke autumn in all that they do. Well I have news for you - this is a summer album!
There are also some lovely interludes contributed by Mark Keen (drums, piano, percussion) which allow the whole thing to breathe even more. If you want to get under the skin of this album then try the single "Lunar Days", it squeezes all the aspects into that format. "Everyone You Meet" is the full blown Motown track, in an understated way, natch.
It is really worth staying with this album as well because it finishes with more strength than it begins. "Constellations Echo Lanes" (try saying or singing that in a hurry) is genuinely psych, "The Museum of Fog" is spoken word over a trad backing. Yes it's been done before, but here pulled off with some aplomb. You feel like you really want to know what happens. "North Circular Days" includes Derek Jarman's wind (fnarr) but don't let that put you off.
"The Age of Miracles" provides us with a fitting finale and the opportunity for a sing-a-long. The final suite of songs is a fantastic finish to a joyful baroque pop symphony.