Essential New Music: The Clientele’s “Music For The Age Of Miracles”

Some artists believe so thoroughly in the imaginary worlds they create, the listener winds up being convinced of their existence, too. Such a dogmatic dreamer is Clientele anchor Alasdair MacLean, who loses himself so thoroughly in his dreamy, Fairport Convention-folky universe on the band’s first album in seven years that it almost borders on satire, like Spinal Tap’s ’60s-retro spoof “Listen To The Flower People.” But MacLean (who wheezes like a more bookish Steve Kilbey) is as ardent as Sheldon Cooper on gently plucked numbers like “Lunar Days” (“This is the year that the monster will come,” he gently warns), a wispy “The Neighbour” (“How will you ever know the dancer from the dance?” he puzzles) and head-scratcher “Everything You See Tonight Is Different From Itself” (on which he calmly notes that “Nothing here is quite the same/Songbirds singing new refrains”). By the time MacLean gets around to a spoken-word revisit to an old haunt, “The Museum Of Fog,” you’re happily along for the surreal ride.

Tom Lanham