Rebounding after the ever-so-slightly samey feel of The Violet Hour, Strange Geometry reinvigorates the Clientele's literate, wistful indie pop with fresh doses of emotion, invention, and wit. As the Arthur Machen quote in the album's liner notes suggests, Strange Geometry is as much about London as it is about introspection and lost love: virtually every song on the album makes characters out of the tenement lines, gardens, trees, streets, and buildings that make up the city. In fact, these songs are so thematically tight that they resemble a collection of poems and short stories set to music, particularly on the largely spoken word "Losing Haringey," a breakup note to London with wonderfully evocative lyrics like "I was in an underexposed photo of 1982." All kinds of clever and experimental details decorate Strange Geometry, from the distant, operatic vocals that introduce "K" to the guitar melody that quotes the Crystals' "Then He Kissed Me" on "Since K Got Over Me." Fortunately, though, these extra bursts of creativity don't distract from the essential beauty of these songs. On both livelier tracks like "My Own Face Inside the Trees" and "E.M.P.T.Y." (which boasts bubblegum-psych string flourishes and fuzzy guitars) and immaculately groomed ballads like the soft, sweet sadness of "(I Can't Seem To) Make You Mine" and "Step into the Light," the Clientele have rarely sounded better. Despite a few sleepy moments on the album's second half, Strange Geometry has more flair and movement than Violet Hour, and perfects the band's ability to be uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares