Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Sep 25th 2009 4:00PM by Jason S Lipshutz
"It goes back to this really trippy material that we began with, and I think that makes the record both sinister and beautiful," singer Alasdair MacLean tells Spinner. Blending the polished atmospheres of 2007's 'God Save the Clientele' with the rougher edges of the band's earlier work, the disc is a perfect synthesis for the critically successful yet commercially-underrated four-piece.
'Heath' was recorded in northeast London in 2008 during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. Veteran producer Brian O'Shaughnessy, whose previous work includes My Bloody Valentine and Primal Scream, returned for the album after overseeing the band's reverb-heavy 2005 disc, 'Strange Geometry.'
MacLean, who listened to folk artists like Vashti Bunyan and the Trees while recording, says that writing organically led him back to the moodier styles of earlier work. The creeping waltz of 'Jennifer and Julia' and the gentle ballad 'Tonight' touch upon older folk traditions, while a haunting remake of 'Graven Wood,' the first song the Clientele ever recorded, brings the band full circle.
"This was a more personal record," MacLean says. "There are some love songs here, but there also some about mental distress. I think it evokes a lot of strong reactions in that sense."
The Clientele will be touring the US in support of the record early next year. Before they begin the trek, MacLean will make a foray into unknown territory by playing his first Stateside solo show Oct. 29 at New York's Joe's Pub.
"I'm incredibly nervous. I've played solo a handful of times, but playing in New York City is much different," he says. "Luckily, I think we appeal to a thoughtful crowd in America ... I'm much more optimistic about playing there this time around."
'Bonfires on the Heath' is due out Oct. 6 on Merge Records.