Clientele Suburban Light

There's a lot to be said for creating a certain sound, especially one that sounds about 35 years old. London, England's the Clientele has mastered a sound that has not been this good since Galaxie 500 did it in the '80s, one made popular by such influential bands as the Byrds and the Association. Suburban Light is the band's debut album, a compilation of singles and unreleased tracks that were originally released last year in the UK. (This North American version contains three songs not on the import, substituting those previously heard on the A Fading Summer EP.) The Clientele use hazy, cave-like echoes to give their music its distinct beauty. On songs like "We Could Walk Together" and "6am Morningside," Alasdair MacLean's vocals are as soft as snow, and seem almost too dreamy to be natural. Add the light, jangly strums of MacLean's guitar, the impeccable timing of Mark Keen's drums and the wisping bass lines of James Horney and you have the best new band out of England. Obviously wearing their influences on their sleeve, the Clientele embrace the pop sensibilities of Love and the Left Banke and the production of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson to make the dreamiest pop sounds a young couple in love could ever hope for. (Merge)