The Clientele will always remind me of my friend Jez, who I met while working in a call centre during the first five years after moving to Ottawa. He was a few years younger than I but shared very similar tastes in music and also a similar insatiable appetite for discovering new music. I can’t remember which of us caught wind of The Clientele first but it likely wasn’t long before we were both raving about them to any one who would listen. And when The Clientele unbelievably made a stop at a tiny club here in Ottawa in 2007 (with Beach House opening!), we didn’t hesitate in picking up tickets. Jez and I don’t get out for drinks nearly as often these days as we used to but when we do, music is always one of the main topics of discussion.
And speaking of music discussion, I believe The Clientele was today’s topic? Right.
So this here is a London-based indie pop outfit that formed in 1997 and has had an organic rotation of personnel that has generally centred around school mates Alasdair MacLean (guitar and vocals) and James Hornsey (bass). Their first long player, 2000’s “Suburban light” (on which “Rain” appears), was in fact a compilation of singles and B-sides recorded in the group’s early years. Jez and I picked up on these guys three or four years later after they released their first proper studio album, “The violet hours”, and fell deeply in love with their dreamy, 60s psychedelic and jangly pop. The group released three more albums before going on hiatus in 2011, a hiatus that has seemingly come to an end with news of a sixth album due out in September. (Cheers all around.)
“Rain” is one of only three tracks of thirteen on “Suburban light” that hadn’t previously seen the light of day on some release or other. It’s definitely a mood piece, sounding very much like a showery dusk in the middle of fall (or pretty much every day this summer in Ottawa). The jangly guitars pittering and pattering against the windows and MacLean’s vocals, breathily fed through a guitar amp, sing about longing, of love and summer lost. “And I want you so bad in my heart. And I touch your shadowed fingers in the dark. And the stars have fallen on this night like rain.” It’s all grey and misty and lovely, like laughing with tears in your eyes. And I just want to listen to it all day long.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 2000 list, click here.