The Clientele to start the week off. A London-based indie pop band, currently composed of lead singer/guitarist Alasdair MacLean, drummer Mark Keen and bassist James Hornsey.
The band has experienced more success in the United States than they have in their native Britain, and are currently signed to Merge Records, an independent record label based out of North Carolina. They have conducted several extensive U.S. tours throughout their existence.
MacLean and Hornsey both grew up in Hampshire, England, and began collaborating musically while still in school, after MacLean saw that Hornsey had written the name of the band Felt on his pencil case. The band formed in 1991, with Innes Phillips sharing singing and songwriting duties with MacLean; their original name was The Butterfly Collectors. The band recorded an album’s worth of material but failed to get any label interest. Innes left the band (and would go on to found The Relict); the rest of the group re-formed in 1997, after which they moved to London and released a number of singles that were eventually collected on Suburban Light (2000). That compilation won the band glowing reviews; SF Weekly said the band “offers a brand of appealingly melancholy pop that might just surpass that of its forebears.” The Violet Hour (2003) was their first album proper, which again saw great acclaim, but, as yet, little commercial success.
August 2005 saw the release of their second full album, Strange Geometry, the first the band recorded with a producer, Brian O’Shaughnessy, who had previously produced Primal Scream. It was notable for a much cleaner production sound than the reverb-heavy sound that had previously been their defining characteristic; it was also the first time the band had used a strings section on one of their records. The task of writing these arrangements was given to Louis Philippe. One single, “Since K Got Over Me”, was released from the album. Another song from the album, “(I Can’t Seem) To Make You Mine”, was featured on the soundtrack of the film The Lake House.
Strange Geometry was quickly followed by a collection of recordings from 1991 to 1996, featuring Innes Phillips, called It’s Art, Dad. After a U.S. tour in August 2006, The Clientele became a four-piece again, adding Mel Draisey (on violin, keys and percussion), who became their first female member. They then recorded the album God Save The Clientele with producer Mark Nevers, known for his work with Merge labelmates Lambchop; the album again featured several Louis Philippe-composed string arrangements. God Save The Clientele was released in May 2007 in the United States. Bonfires on the Heath followed in October 2009, and Minotaur, a Mini-LP, was released on 17 July 2010.
On 6 July 2011, the band announced on its website that The Clientele would be taking an indefinite hiatus.
The band announced that it would reunite for a lone gig at The Bell House in Brooklyn on 21 March 2014.
Since then, the ‘Suburban Light’ album has been reissued with bonus tracks and gave the band a Billboard top 30 album for the first time in their history. They also released two new singles in 2014, ‘Falling Asleep’ and ‘On A Summer Trail’. The band have continued to tour in both the US and Europe, and MacLean is writing songs which may constitute a forthcoming album. On 24 March 2016, the group’s official Facebook page posted an image of the mixing board at Brian O’Shaughnessy’s Bark Studios in London, with the implication that the group were recording new material. On 16 June 2017, the band announced a new album, Music for the Age of Miracles, and a tour.
To get you familiarized (if you aren’t already) here is their session for Marc Riley at BBC 6 Music. Recorded on September 8, 2015.
A low-key start to a week that is anything but. Hit the play button and relax – and turn the TV off.