Release Date: Sep 4, 2015
Record label: Merge
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Since they began releasing records in the late '90s, the Clientele have been responsible for some of the most haunting, most pristine, and flat-out best indie pop imaginable. After a listen to Alone & Unreal: The Best of the Clientele, the case could easily be made that the group may be one of the best bands of their era period. Rankings and history aside, the collection gathers songs from each of the band's five albums, plus a song from a 2014 single, showing their progression from a spare, three-guys-in-a-bedroom-sound to the expansive string- and horn-filled experience they became in the end.
As far as most contemporary pop bands go, the Clientele have been consistently great. Take any album of theirs, select any track at random, and you’ll likely wind up listening to a miniature masterpiece of dreamy London-based indie pop with Alasdair MacLean’s gently whispering sweet nothings into your ear. So it’s odd that Unreal and Alone, the first and so far only compilation of the Clientele, is so brief.
Every art form, in every era, has its great lost talents. Individuals blessed with sublime ability that somehow, for reasons often hard to quantify, fail to connect with the wider audience their work so richly deserves. Sometimes the next generation can be more amenable. Take for example The Velvet Underground.