Slow burn: The Clientele lights 'Bonfires on the Hearth'

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THE CLIENTELE
Bonfires on the Hearth
(Merge)

By Kimberly Chun

“Charmed, I’m sure,” you wanna mutter humbly as the guitar vamps enter sparkling and B-3 commences humming on “I Wonder Who We Are,” the opening track of the Clientele’s latest, Bonfires on the Hearth. Less purple-shaded and melancholy than 2003’s The Violet Hour (Merge), less hard-cornered and haunted than 2005’s Strange Geometry, and further embellished with sitar drone and autumnal brass, Bonfires shows the London band still tucked into its distinct universe, a nook of ‘60s-wracked pop that’s nostalgic but never truly derivative. It’s mood music that finds its strength in softness.

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