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The Clientele

That Night, a Forest Grew

(Acuarela; US: Available as import; UK: 9 Sep 2008)

The Clientele have used a series of three EPs, all released on Acuarela between albums, to stretch out and try a few new things. In the past, that has meant things like organ sound experiments and solo piano pieces. On That Night, a Forest Grew, it means dance music. On this EP, particularly “Share the Night” and “George Says He Has Lost His Way in This World”, the band twists their usual 60’s guitar pop into something a little funkier.


It’s not a total departure, but this sound is an extension of the more upbeat spots on God Save the Clientele. And though the band is usually known for the slower pace of rainy day melancholy or hazy bittersweet memory, they sound great here as a toe-tapping rock band. Alasdair Maclean’s always intricate guitar work gets some time in the spotlight here, as he noodles a brilliant guitar solo in “Retiro Park” or guides “Share the Night” with his steady but still full of surprises strumming. Even the title track, a spoken-word experiment, boasts a thick and catchy guitar hook battling with screeching solos.


They’ve managed to try new sounds with all these EPs without losing the charm of their more cohesive records. But That Night, a Forest Grew is their most accessible Acuarela release, and just as rewarding as their other work upon repeat listens. The Clientele have once again proven they are the kind of great band that can try just about any sound they like, but still sound right at home.

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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