Clientele Strange Geometry

The third album is often the true test for a band’s relevance, and for London UK’s the Clientele, they have come out at the top of their class. Simply put, this is a beautiful sounding album. While their previous releases benefited from the charm of basic, reverb-drenched production, they ran the risk of being typecast as ’60s soft pop poster boys. Although their overall style hasn’t radically changed, getting into a full studio with Brian O’Shaughnessey has given their dreamy songs much more room to roam. Although the arrangements (strings included) have become more produced, the sound is still clean and simple. Singer/guitarist Alasdair MacLean has really perfected his songwriting, and Strange Geometry has a real cohesive feel — as if you are wandering around London, observing and reflecting right there with him. "Losing Haringey” is as personal as you can get, with MacLean’s spoken word story drawing you completely into his world. There really are no weak points throughout the album’s 12 tracks, and it seems they have really settled into their skin. This is some of the finest work the Clientele have released, and could easily be one of this year’s landmark albums. (Merge)