The Clientele: Suburban Light (Merge) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020  

The Clientele

Suburban Light


May 16, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

As part of the ongoing 25th Anniversary reissue series from Merge, The Clientele have reissued their 2000 quasi-debut album, Suburban Light. The original was a collection of singles from 1997-2000, a hodgepodge that nonetheless had a surprising cohesion.

The record sounds just as warm and inviting as it did in 2000, with Alasdair MacLean's vocals as lulling and affecting as ever. While there are few missteps (the contrasting guitar in "Lacewings" is more grating than interesting, and some of the songs plod to their endings), the album is a terrific example of British pop. It's cliché to say a pop band is inspired by The Beatles, The Velvet Underground, and The Kinks, but in the case of The Clientele, it's all trueand they made those influences into something special.

This reissue restores the album to its U.K. tracklisting. That's mostly a good thing"An Hour Before the Light" is one of the stronger songs on the album and both "Bicycles" and "Saturday" are lovely. Plus, all the American tracks are found on a bonus disc that includes some unreleased tracks. The reissue also sounds bettertracks are noticeably more lush.

Though The Clientele would go on to release better albums, Suburban Light holds a special place in indie-rock historyunabashedly pretty music that came out during a rock revival. While The White Stripes noisily fell in love with a girl and The Strokes yelped about last night, The Clientele were making music for rainy nights, and it was (and remains) wonderful. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10


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Thanos Cosplay Costume
June 29th 2018

I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also

Lindsey Hyland
October 20th 2018

Great guide I think our next generation should aware of these for sure.