So I recently did the whole “15 albums that changed your life” meme on Facebook, but there are a lot of things I listen to again and again — Terri would say compulsively, no, she doesn’t say that, she asks “are you going to ruin this one for me, too?”. Anyway, there are a whole slew of albums that didn’t and won’t change my life, but that I return to again and again like a favorite sweater or a musical blanket.
“Strange Geometry” by the Clientele is like that. It’s not going to stretch your horizons. It didn’t change the shape of music. It’s derivitave, and like all Clientele records, it borders on being a precious affected 60′s period piece. But like all the Clientele’s best stuff, there’s a kind of surreal and dark and almost mystical undercurrent.
You can listen to this record and dismiss it, thinking “this is a little pretentious, and they’re trying too hard”. And it’s kind of true. While really great albums just do it and don’t sound so strained, this album manages to both try too hard and pull it off. A good example is “Losing Haringey“: it’s a spoken word thingy where the narrator finds himself in a photograph, and right when I’m thinking “oh, please”, a little turn of phrase will just twist the right way (“as if none of the intervening disasters and wrong turns had happened yet” always gets me), and it just works.
And “Since K Got Over Me” and “My Own Face In The Trees” are just great pop songs.