There are plenty of things that God needs to save, that is, if there is a big, hairy old thing somewhere in the sky known as God. I would hope that he/she/it will begin by saving the crumbling US dollar and hopefully the future of the planet too by getting rid of the goddamn Bush administration. Incidentally, London’s The Clientele wants to be saved as well and they have titled their new album as such. This is their third proper album and it follows them downstream from where they last left off in 2005. God Save is a concise fourteen songs in forty four minutes of gentle, mildly psychedelic pop music.
Bookshop Cassanova [mp3]
The album opens with “Here Comes the Phantom,” which sounds like the happy little offspring of Belle and Sebastian and Elliott Smith. The vocals sound an awful lot like a British version of Smith. In fact, much of the record retains the characteristic styles of those two artists. The Clientele are not as mopey as Elliott Smith, but they are not quite as graceful as Belle and Sebastian either. However, their sound is definitely somewhere right in between. There are also some touches or resemblances to The Zombies, Nick Drake and Sparklehorse strewn throughout the record.
“From Brighton Beach to Santa Monica” has a Nick Drake style of acoustic guitar playing backed by a pretty string accompaniment. The soft spoken vocals of singer Alasdair MacLean also resemble George Harrison at times. “The Queen of Seville” is quite pretty too. It is a wintry type of folk song that includes some flourishes of pedal steel lead guitar. “Bookshop Casanova” displays more of a rock sound, but includes jazzy drumming and some James Bond-like strings behind the jangle of the guitar and bass lines.
God Save the Clientele will definitely appeal to fans of modern British folk rock. The album resembles mid to late sixties pop, but retains melody due to the classy arrangements and reverb heavy production. The band are also on tour of the US right now, so if you are interested there is a good chance that they will be coming to a town near you very soon.