The Clean: Mister Pop (Arch Hill)

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The Clean: In the Dreamlife U Need a Rubber Soul
The Clean: Mister Pop (Arch Hill)

There has often been a spiralling quasi-psychedelic quality to the Clean, but this time out the mood drops back into a more gentle, thought-provoking, marijuana-ambient sound which recalls moments from guitarist David Kilgour's solo albums.

There is a lovely langour to many of these pieces, the long and rolling rhythms, the leisurely pacing and effortless forward momentum. There's a gentle mid-Sixties feel everywhere: the distant and dreamy vocals on Are You Really on Drugs pentrated by searing guitar lines; the almost folksy chime of In the Dreamlife U Need a Rubber Soul; the suggestions of electric sitar-sounds/Byrds in the guitar on Asleep in the Tunnel; the jaunty Blonde on Blonde/Dylanesque vibe on Back in the Day . . .

Some of these sound like the working drawing the young Stone Roses might have had.

But there is also the churning Moonjumper with its backward guitars, viola and almost electro backdrop; a pastoral mood on the instrumental Simple Fix; Kraftwerk-like vocoder vocals on Tensile . . .

Factory Man seems lightweight in this company and when some songs trail off they feel incomplete. Much of this sounds like it has been thought out beforehand but in the studio has been improvised around basic ideas.

Not the best or most essential album the Clean have made, but quietly delightful -- and really, how can you not feel something warm about an album that refers to one the Beatles' most overlooked records from the mid-Sixties, the Essential Elsewhere album Rubber Soul?

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