Convention flies out the window on our pick of the week's new releases
Esoteric indie pop trio The Clientele have always moved at their own pace. Despite being formed more than 30 years, their new album, I Am Not There Anymore, is just their seventh full-length LP and their first in more than seven years.
In that time, despite their sloth-like pace, the band have amassed a cult following and a built a fanbase who have tracked their every move. Held by no trend and no compunction to move in any direction but the one they damn well feel like, it’s this confidence that allows you to kick off a new album with an eight-and-a-half minute meandering epic, which swerves between swirling orchestras, spoken word interludes, jangly guitar pop and Beach Boys esque harmonies.
Nothing about this album is straightforward, whether that’s in production, structure or format. It’s a whopping 19 tracks long, with five of them not marking the 90-second mark, and one done in under 30 seconds. Sonically, it shifts between a kind of trippy, Magical Mystery Tour era Beatles sensibility, The Shins when they’re at their wackiest and spooky Hammer Horror style strings, with touches of The Flaming Lips and The Kinks thrown in for good measure.
In an era where artists are incentivised to turn things around quickly, lest their fans move on, and where the album is something of a fluid concept given the way most people consume it, I Am Not There Anymore is a rejection of all that. Listen #1 will be wildly different to listen #20 and wildly, wildly different to listen #100.
Somehow, it all hangs together to produce an album that not only demands total attention, but also makes its own kind of sense. A bizarre rock opera, a madcap, freewheeling adventure, but one will have you clicking the play button over and over again.