As with much Clientele-related news and views, I came across the announcement of this album on the Galaxie 500 mailing list, and more precisely from the quietly heroic owner of that list, Andy Aldridge. The album's not available other than via the band, so I had to email their web site to ask how to order it. That was on 7 October last year, a Friday. After swapping a couple of emails with Marianna, wife of Alasdair in the band and also designer of the album cover, I paid by Paypal and received the album in the post on the Monday. All of which is a bit like the Internet replicating a friendly (and efficient) family store, rather than a faceless supermarket.
The album is made up of recordings that pre-date all the band's 'official' releases, and come from a time when there was a fourth member of the band, Innes Phillips (good name, that), on guitar and vocals. But it doesn't showcase a different, less mature version of The Clientele. They sprang from the womb with their trademark sound already fully-formed it seems. The songs written and sung by Innes don't have the same lyrical allusions (mainly to London, as in St Paul's Beneath the Sinking Sky and St James' Walk) as those by Alasdair, but they're not massively different, either.
So this is like just another Clientele album, really. And none the worse for that. The recordings are only demo-quality, but not too much the worse for that…
I came across this Pitchfork review of the album yesterday, but purposely didn't read it until I'd written the paragraphs above. I'm more or less in sync with it. I hoped there might also be a review on the amazing Tangents site — another great source of Clientele-related info — but sadly not.
|Details of the album on official web site, including how to buy it by mail order||MusicBrainz entry for this album|