published: 17 /
I've said it before and I'll say it again. It happens too often that bands never get the recognition they deserve during their lifetime, but after a while (often when the members themselves have forgo
I've said it before and I'll say it again. It happens too often that bands never get the recognition they deserve during their lifetime, but after a while (often when the members themselves have forgotten about their ignored past) , the band then gets a revival and becomes the hippest, coolest band on Earth. One such band is Galaxie 500. They released three albums in the late 80s/early 90s, didn't get any attention whatsoever (except from the indie kids of that time) and finally called it a day. In the mid 90s, Rykodisc released a 4CD box set containing most of the stuff the band had ever recorded, and all of a sudden, in order to be the coolest kid on the block, this box had to be on your record shelf.
Now you may perhaps be wondering why I am writing all this about Galaxie 500, when this is a review of The Clientele's first album. Or maybe then again perhaps you're not , because if you have heard The Clientele, and Galaxie 500, you should know by now that they sound quite similar. My first contact with this band was with an Elefant Records released single '(I Want You) More Than Ever'. I liked it, to say the least, and thought the B-side ('6 am Morningside') was even better. So, obviously I wanted to hear more, and I wanted to get every record they had ever released. This proved to be quite a mission, as all their early 7" singles are very rare by now. But I got my hands on a copy of a previous single, 'I Had To Say This', and loved that too. After that it stopped. I found out that that if I wanted to hear (and buy) all their first three singles (including a split 7" on Fierce Panda), I would have to pay out a lot of money, and I wasn't prepared to do that just yet. So, this "singles & beyond" compilation was very much welcomed by me. Here you get all those hard-to-get singles tracks for the price of just one of them ! Great!
The record kicks off with the previously mentioned 'I Had To Say This', and it still sounds as good as the first time that I put the needle on to the groove. Then there are all those songs I have read about, but haven't heard yet. Until now. 'Rain' is a previously unreleased gem, and is an upbeat song from a group that is normally quite sad and moody. After you have heard this side of the trio iyou can skip on ahead to the next track, 'Reflections After Jane', which is taken from a single released on Johnny Kane in 1999. Here I once again get the feeling that Alasdair MacLean (singer, guitarist and songwriter in The Clientele) is Dean Wareham's unknown brother. MacLean's voice is just as nasal, and just like Wareham he almost whispers the words in these slow and sad songs. But just as with Galaxie 500, it's not disturbing that he doesn't have perhaps the best singing voice in the world.
The rest of the songs sounds pretty much the same. There are some upbeat songs and some sad, slow songs. Looking back on the last two sentences I realise that that sounds like a bad thing that it sounds the same. It's not. I think it's a good thing that I know what I what I am getting when I buy a record that says The Clientele on the cover. If I get bored with f it, I just don't have to buy their works anymore. It's as easy as that. I find it hard to believe that MacLean and his two bandmates will ever start playing drum'n'bass or experiment with tapeloops and dancebeats. But I have said that about other bands before (for example R.E.M.) and have been proved wrong, so I really thing I should keep my mouth shut.
If you like Galaxie 500, and have yet to hear The Clientele, I really recommend that you buy this compilation. And if you already like them, I suggest you try their offshoot, The Relict, that features members that left the original line-up of The Clientele before they got "big". Basically it sounds exactly the same, and so far they have released two singles, the last one being 'Along The Avenue"' last year. These two bands have just released a a split 7" together which I haven't heard yet. I hope they write which band is on which side, because I don't think I will be able to say who's who.
I Had To Say This
Reflections After Jane
We Could Walk Together
An Hour Before The Light
(I Want You) More Than Ever
Five Day Morning
As Night Is Falling