It’s funny to think that 14 years after THE CLIENTELE released (the recently reissued) SUBURBAN LIGHT, that the UK pop group would still be pedaling their wispy fey-boy music upon the ears of the crown. Yet here they are ending their 3-year hiatus with this split single with obscure ST. ETIENNE-side project, the great and wonderful BIRDIE (whose “Such a Sound” filled many with awe and splendor back in 2000). “ON A SUMMER TRAIL” (backed with Birdie’s “SPIRAL STAIRCASE”) shows that the Clientele is still very much assured of the formula for sad/happy simple guitar pop, as so little has changed in their little indie-pop corner of the world. It’s as if, Led Zeppelin–after storming FM airwaves for a decade–had come back for an encore in 1985 to a rock scene that hadn’t really changed at all. Hard to imagine, and a neutral reflection our times, which tolerate many things to exist at once without a necessary need for change.
Both of these songs were recorded for a special release by Hangover Lounge Records especially in honor of a special performance put together the ex-patriots of Chickfactor magazine (who are we kidding, it’s Gail O’Hara), who were the ultimate tastemakers of ’60s obsessed melodic guitar pop from Prefab Sprout through Camera Obscura before eventually sputtering out. It’s pretty cool that she was able to inspire these acts to come out of the woodwork.