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Client

CityMute/Toast Hawaii

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So I was wrong about Client and what they meant for electroclash, the short-lived electro revival spawned in New York City's bored-as-fuck club scene. It seemed at first that Client, the duo's 2003 debut, was head-to-toe cliché: from the thumb-and-pinky keyboard octaves to the bored-sexy vocals and anonymous identities of the two women of Client. Now I see that, yes, Client is all cliché, just as the sophomore pull City is all cliché. Because if the post-ironic, post-post-modern milieu of the mullet-and-mustache punks and Flashdance-wear club gals we live in is all about recontextualizing cliché, then Client is all about something less comfortably ironic and more a disturbing twentysomething gut-punch: cliché in its natural habitat.

 

And that natural habitat, we all know, is the CD player and the dance floor, the bedroom-wall poster and the fashion mag. Those are all places Client knows well and will learn more about in the coming year, as people give in to the Blade Runner, give-up-on-the-future pop of City. Client understands the innate sadness of fetish as well as anyone since the group's label-founder, Depeche Mode's Andy Fletcher. Client also knows that in these cultural end-times, fetish is somehow also a lifeline to some kind of romanticism so rare in pop. So, on the lead-off track (and first single) from City, "Radio," there's the hopelessness of pop cliché -- the bored anthem about how modern radio music sucks, played endlessly on modern radio. But there's also something warm in the "Warm Leatherette" bondage-gear synth sequences and Felix da Housecat-deejaying-Vice City melancholy that Client instills in it.

 

Similarly, if the real '80s revival is to be examined, it's gotta be to the soundtrack of "In It For The Money," a blasted-synth sing-along for the new corporate ladder-climbers and the Bush tax-cut set, but also maybe a raison d'etre for Client itself. ("Just give me love, give me sex, give me money / work hard? / why should I?") In-studio talk was probably all about the pop-art possibilities of celebrating the "greed is good" philosophy, but the real pop art would be in Client's full-fledged dedication to greed lifestyle.

 

Client's got both cliché and fetish strapped up in their bedroom, and they use 'em and abuse 'em as well as -- possibly better than -- anybody in the modern electro-pop pantheon. For the dissatisfied masses still clinging to these sonic PVC shorts, fret not: Client feels your pain, and spits it back in well-worn well-loved licks. "It's rock and roll / and it's never gonna leave me."

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