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- The House at Sea by Amor De Dias
9/10 Clinton Staff review, 15 February 2013
I’ve pulled back the blinds, the sun is streaming through and there is just the faintest glimpse that winter may be fading into a glorious spring. If that event does happen then I know exactly which album I will be sharing it with. First up, before we go any further this is a collaboration between Alasdair MacLean (The Clientele) and Spanish guitarist Lupe Núñez-Fernández. Now, I love The Clientele. I fell asleep the other night to the strains of their debut ‘Suburban Light’ and drove myself crazy wondering how they made such a delightful record...I mean how did they blimmin’ well do it? Similar thoughts flit through my brain at pretty much every point of this wondrous release.
Okay, it sounds like The Clientele...but a folkier version with lots of finger picked nylon strung guitars, whispered vocals and Mediterranean inflections. The title track is the most glorious thing, is creeps along like the most lovely of sea breezes, the chorus elevates it into the clear blue sky. A sea shanty of sorts beautifully done, every note rings out perfectly, every vocal inflection spot on.
It is an undoubted highlight but it is not alone in its brilliance. ‘Jean’s Waving’ has a lovely chord progression, Alasdair’s vocals do that thing that they always do, they draw you in with evocative wordsmithery referencing hallways, fields of straw and all Go-Between-ish places in between but it bursts into a wonderful chorus that has brought a big fat grin to my face. This is the power that music has, to leave me dribbling like a child, racing back to the stereo to replay the track to find out exactly how they did it.
There are some gorgeously lovely slower moments such as ‘Viento Del Mar’ which sounds like a perfect afternoon on some Spanish coast or other. The album is full of these moments. It’s beautifully recorded throughout by Brian O’Shaughnessy (My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, etc) who does a sterling job of capturing organically the performances. It will of course appeal to fans of The Clientele but also fans of ‘De Capo’-era Love, The Zombies, Kings of Convenience and Jose Gonzalez should have their finger hovering over the ‘buy’ button.
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