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The Clientele 

Strange Geometry (Merge)

"Ravishing" doesn't begin to describe Strange Geometry. "Fatigued" might. It would be hard to argue that this British band's second album is not a lovely experience. Sweeping lullabies like "Since K Got Over Me," "E.M.P.T.Y.," and "Impossible" are perfectly '60s -- orchestrated pop reboots wrapped in warm strings and delicately plucked, chiming guitar lines.

And when the syrup starts to flow too thickly, the Clientele can bounce out a cloud-hopping treat ("My Own Face"), though it seldom does. Tempos begin to turn in on themselves as the disc goes on, and if the songs have the sweetness of molasses, they have its momentum too. But the Clientele's striving for a timeless sound -- and having the arranging chops to pull it off most of the time -- is impressive. Again, this is exquisite rainy Sunday stuff. But it's beginning to feel as if lots of indie-rock songwriters are retreating into a pretty, light-rock hangover.

More by Eric Davidson

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