UK popsters catch heaven in a bottle on second album

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The Clientele – The Violet Hour

The Clientele manage to surpass their hotly tipped 2000 debut by refining their wispy sound to a pure, delicate pop breeze as evocative of bucolic summer afternoons as anything in the Brian Wilson catalogue. The languorous, breathy feel here has antecedents in everything from the Left Banke to Belle & Sebastian, but The Violet Hour transcends twee and ’60s pop influences in songs that work on an almost subliminal level. It’s hard to think of a quieter recording?at times you can almost hear the amps buzzing?but this is surely one of the most magical pop albums of 2003.