A ‘Winter’ Song for Summer Drives
“Winter on Victoria Street” by The Clientele (God Save The Clientele)
The Clientele’s quaint pop sound recalls an era before psychedelic rock and the Vietnam War complicated music. The band’s approach, spearheaded by singer-songwriter Alasdair MacLean, draws easy comparisons to the boy-meets-girl love songs of the early to mid-’60s: something between Herman Hermits and just about any band that starts with “The” from that period: The Beatles, The Byrds, The Turtles, The Monkees, The Kinks, and so on. While it indulges in the occasional pastoral ballad, the new God Save the Clientele feels like a natural progression from its forebears’ upbeat jangle.
With bright, chirping guitars and sweeping string passages, “Winter on Victoria Street” revolves around a perfectly restrained pop arrangement. Still, a vaguely melancholy mood tempers the joy of love’s early stages â€” and perhaps even hints at eventual heartbreak. Yet there’s a comforting optimism to MacLean’s Lennon-like phrasing and evocative sentiments, as he sings, “Watching a movie and getting bored / Trying to get up with the girl next door / It’s all in line, mysterious signs.” The breezy, overlapping vocal melodies seem ideally suited for sunny drives, even as a few clouds loom in the distance.