The Clientele 

Strange Geometry

It must be said that this British band's sophomore effort is a commandingly lovely experience. Sweeping lullabies like "Since K Got Over Me" and "E.M.P.T.Y." are simply perfect orchestrated '60s-pop reboots wrapped in warm strings, and there are even bits of mysterious conversations buried in the mix, hinting at a suave espionage angle. Such striving for a timeless sound (and having the songwriting chops to pull it off) make Strange Geometry impressive, but it's beginning to feel as though lots of young'uns -- garage-blasted and Iraq war-weary -- are settling into a mid-'70s light-rock hangover. But if the Clientele, the Shins, and so forth are the Pilot and Starbuck of today, I guess that's not such a terrible thing.

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