To celebrate their 25 years of existence, Merge records sold a hefty box of 7-inch singles. UK band the Clientele is just one of the 25 artists included in the Or Thousands of Prizes box, giving two mellow but nonetheless engaging songs. The atmosphere of the a-side, “Falling Asleep”, doesn’t try to work against its title. The nylon guitar line spins around an aging piano, reassuring the listener that they will be rocked, not bored, to sleep. “Orpheus Avenue” is only 20 seconds longer, but feels much longer than that, given the song’s heavy repetition. “Orpheus is singing in the wilds” Alasdair MacLean sings over and over again, as if he were being paid accordingly.
The Clientele are one of those bands that the indie music community holds to a very high standard, higher than the average critical darling. And given what this band has accomplished before, “Falling Asleep” and “Orpheus Avenue” fall just outside of their achievements. But hey, it’s just a 10-minute 7-inch; it’s not your life that’s on the line here. Let’s hope the “indefinite hiatus” that they’re on doesn’t take too much wind from their sails.