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A 'Winter' Song for Summer Drives

The Clientele draws on the sweet-natured innocence of early-'60s pop.
The Clientele draws on the sweet-natured innocence of early-'60s pop.

The Clientele's quaint pop sound recalls an era before psychedelic rock and the Vietnam War complicated music. The band's approach, spearheaded by singer-songwriter Alasdair MacLean, draws easy comparisons to the boy-meets-girl love songs of the early to mid-'60s: something between Herman Hermits and just about any band that starts with "The" from that period: The Beatles, The Byrds, The Turtles, The Monkees, The Kinks, and so on. While it indulges in the occasional pastoral ballad, the new God Save the Clientele feels like a natural progression from its forebears' upbeat jangle.

With bright, chirping guitars and sweeping string passages, "Winter on Victoria Street" revolves around a perfectly restrained pop arrangement. Still, a vaguely melancholy mood tempers the joy of love's early stages — and perhaps even hints at eventual heartbreak. Yet there's a comforting optimism to MacLean's Lennon-like phrasing and evocative sentiments, as he sings, "Watching a movie and getting bored / Trying to get up with the girl next door / It's all in line, mysterious signs." The breezy, overlapping vocal melodies seem ideally suited for sunny drives, even as a few clouds loom in the distance.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Mike Katzif
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