Bonfires on the Hearth
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.