Archive for Client

Bands we miss – Client

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 8, 2012 by softsynth

Client got bolder and stronger with each new release until they imploded. And even at that there was promise for the future but here we are at the close of 2012, and it feels like we’re no closer to having a sense of Client’s future than ever before.

We’re getting ahead of ourselves. Client were a gritty/dirty electronic duo from the UK, originally the only-ever signing to Andy Fletcher’s (Depeche Mode) Toast Hawaii label. They released four albums that eventually showed a band fully aware of what it wanted to be. Then up and left Sarah Blackwood (Client B) who reassembled with her Dubstar bandmates leaving “Client A”, i.e. Kate Holmes to find a new vocalist or call it a day. She recruited former Technique bandmate Xan Tylor to take the mic and over a year later…nothing. Holmes has been active on Twitter but mostly talking about her Client clothing operation, the music has clearly taken a backseat, the Client website not updated in over a year and no news of new music on the horizon. Once gets the sense of a band in stasis. And that makes this blogger sad. Continue reading


Three bands we’re digging right now

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on January 3, 2011 by softsynth

With 2011 now upon us, a quick look back over the year that just was shows a number of sad developments in the world of electronic music. The death of aha, (maybe?) Ashbury Heights, Thermostatic and Mobius Band, the splitting in two of Client, and disappointing product from many electronic stalwarts, not to mention a number of favourites that have gone genuinely AWOL (see next post). However, one glance over the new bands we’ve shone a light on over this last year makes us perk up a little as we realize the next generation has a great many exciting things to offer. Three bands yet to record an official album (along side Sunday Girl and Vile Electrodes who will release debuts this year) are on our radar as we ease into ’11. Continue reading

What makes for a good live electronic act?

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2009 by softsynth

After watching clips of the new Anne Clark live DVD and finding ourselves most impressed with the lineup and the sound she and her band achieve, Softsynth is flashing back to the concert of a lifetime – Depeche Mode, Toronto, 1988, just days before their legendary “101” concert at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. It was a lineup that embodied the best of electronic music, three keyboards, Martin Gore making his first fawn-like tentative journeys to the front of the stage to play guitar before retreating to the comfort of his synth downstage, and a charismatic lead vocalist who carried the energy of the show on his shoulders. Since that time we have seen every variance of live set from myriad electronic bands, some of which work nicely, others bring a degree of shame to the genre. in 2009 what kind of set should we come to expect from the leading electronic bands of the day?

For the more conventional rock band setup, this is a trite and obvious question. You strap on the guitar, the drummer sits down at the kit and you rock it out dude! The standard guitar/bass/drums/vocalist lineup, while inherently dull to this blogger, is the mainstay of a live rock set and there is little question of what the lineup will look like (maybe some question of a keyboard player or horn player being invited to sit in, or for the more prog-rock or enjoyably pretentious, perhaps a small string or brass section, or extra precussion unit, but these are extras to the main deal). But for an electronic band there are many questions that must be queried. Laptops or keyboards? Live percussion or programmed? Guitar or no? Full-on trad-rock lineup or something a little closer to the purity of the electronic set? This is one of those rare posts where we solicit your thoughts. What works for you. What drains the essence of what made the band special in the first place?

Our thoughts: it depends on the band in question. Full disclosure – Softsynth is most fond of performance. We have little interest in watching folks stand behind laptops all by their lonesome, occasionally pushing a button (see And One, Erasure, Venus Hum, Chemical Brothers); while a charismatic lead singer (see Erasure, Venus Hum) can carry a show on their shoulders, it’s nice to see the rest of the band occasionally working up a sweat, or at a minimum, playing a fews keys here and there. Continue reading

A second glance – reviewing the reviews

Posted in Commentary, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2009 by softsynth

Usually a review is largely based on first impressions; one will listen to a new album a few times to get a feel for it and go with one’s gut. But what’s interesting to see if that initial impression sticks. The main reason I wanted to revisit some reviews/first impressions was my sense that I felt let down by Depeche Mode’s Sounds of the Universe. My initial impression was wrapped up in a relief and inherent excitement around their return to form using electronics with a purity they had not in decades. But the more I live with the album the more I am struck by how underwhelming I find the songwriting. Nothing stands out – lots of ‘good songs, Wrong, Corrupt, In Chains, Peace – but nothing that stands as “outstanding”, unique or a serious meaningful addition to the DM pantheon. 

Initial impression > current impression.

At the same time I was cautiously pleased with the new IAMX release, Kingdom of Welcome Addiction, which was simply “better than I thought/feared it was going to be”. On many, many (many!) listens later, the album feels like such a breath of fresh air, so perfect in tone, so spot-0n in terms of production and songwriting prowess, so emotionally powerful it feels like the album of the year so far. Put on the headphones, crank it up and listen to the title track, or Shipwreck of Life or I Am Terrified, or best of all, Teargarden and tell you you aren’t moved emotionally and even physically by the power of this magnificent album. I was way off base in my lukewarm treatment of the record.

Initial impression < current impression. Continue reading

Review: Client – Command

Posted in Review with tags , on March 17, 2009 by softsynth

With great economy of haste, Client rush out their followup to 2006’s Heartland, and it’s a corker. Where Heartland seemed muddled and confused as to what kind of band Client wanted to be, Command shows with sparkling clarity this is a band very much in touch with its electroclash heart.

The biggest surprise of the album is how the band cleverly drew upon the best of the three previous albums. From the Kraftwerkian minimalism of Client, to the electropop of City, to the electronically-influenced rock of Heartland, we experience a touch of each on this clever, often inspired disc. Continue reading

More new Client snippets: Don’t Walk Away

Posted in News with tags , on February 15, 2009 by softsynth

Client continue to throw out snippets from their upcoming album, Command (due March 3 in Europe, June 8 in the UK, no word on North American releases). The latest is “Don’t Walk Away” which can be heard on their MySpace page. This torch-style mid-tempo number, coupled with the earlier-mentioned “Can You Feel” make me increasingly excited about the forthcoming release. I was mixed on their last effort, Heartland.  That album was quite hit and miss with keepers like “6 in the Morning” still resonating a couple of years on, but much of it feeling a little flat compared to the awesome City. They seem to be mixing it up a lot more and early signs point to something very cool…

Brand new Client – “Can You Feel”

Posted in News with tags , on February 3, 2009 by softsynth

Client have released the first single from their new album, Command. The track “Can You Feel” is a catchy little stomper that kicks a great deal of ass. Makes me start really yearning for the new album…