The Clientele

w/Destroyer, Rogue Wave, DJVH
Sat Sept 20, Graceland, 10 pm, $8 adv.

Admit it, rainy days and Mondays really do always get you down. It's a fact that everyone from Paul Williams to Garfield can attest to. Even if the doldrums don't alter your mood in any immediate, obvious way (i.e., manic depression), they may work on you in a less obvious fashion, manifesting in any number of inexplicable behaviors (from gorging on lasagna to ingesting copious amounts of chemicals to good ol' fashioned bitterness).

As if brought from the heavens for the sole purpose of providing solidarity and light for such bereft-of-hope folk, there exists the Clientele. This London group has been releasing delicately crafted op-art pop since the late '90s. Their acoustic refractions can be alternately described as "summery" or "wintry" without any loss in meaning. You can actually throw in "fall-like" and "springish," because the group's hazy brilliance embodies all the picturesque moments of the seasons and tends to be best appreciated by those who spend most of their time indoors anyway. The group's concise, photographic approach to songwriting recalls the frozen era of jangling pop during the early '80s where Felt, the Go-Betweens, and Orange Juice were more than journalistic reference points. They come out of an era that sort of peaked when Galaxie 500 released This Is Our Music in 1990, but gets revitalized in small doses from time to time by acts like Belle & Sebastian, the Aislers Set, and the Tyde.

The Clientele's second full-length (and first actual album, as opposed to a singles collection), The Violet Hour, keeps the guitars aloft and lit like fireworks throughout. It's a guitar-centric album, but for the player with an ear for spectral tones and fluid melodies. The group has become dreamier since 2000's Suburban Light, branching off into extended instrumental passages that, if you didn't know better, you might describe as "jamming." (You can leave your Guatemalan-style parka at home, though, as the Clientele are more misty-eyed than pie-eyed.) All in all, an evening with this English trio ought to work as therapy for those with nostalgic hang-ups about the past, and will invariably save you hundreds of dollars in unmade, hopeless, and drunken phone calls.