vendredi, septembre 24, 2004

Client: Schooled uniforms

Client's immaculately tailored electro-pop is irresistible, writes Alexia Loundras

24 September 2004

Friday afternoon in a London pub, and the sun is streaming in. But squirrelled away in a corner is something much less ordinary.

Lounging on sofas are two immaculately dressed women, one blonde, one brunette. This is the electro-pop duo Client, purveyors of driving beats and soaring synths. Their steely composure is seductive and detached, alluring and enigmatic. Until one speaks. "We're a bit sweaty now," says the blonde one. "We wore these clothes to DJ at Sonar in Barcelona, and we haven't had them cleaned yet."

Client - Sarah Blackwood (blonde) and Kate Holmes (brunette) - turn out to be unguarded, chatty and fond of anecdotes. Until recently, they preferred to be known simply as Client A and Client B, and released last year's lauded eponymous debut from behind a veil of anonymity. Pictures - including on the album - shielded their faces or focused (suggestively) on body parts. The artwork for the second album, City, is similarly evocative; it features the women's skirt hems, their legs in towering glossy heels and a glimpse of black PVC gloves.

Client had their reasons. "We didn't want to be judged on what we'd done before," says Blackwood, once vocalist for the indie-dance types Dubstar. "It was too distracting. We wanted to be known for the music."

While Blackwood was busy on Top of the Pops with Dubstar, Holmes was playing keyboards with Frazier Chorus and, more recently, Technique. She's married to the ex-Creation boss Alan McGee, and in the past - when signed to his label - their relationship led to the dismissal of her band as McGee's vanity project.

But it was Technique that brought them together. On the eve of the band's 2001 European dates with Depeche Mode, their singer left. But the tour was too good a chance to miss. Hearing that Dubstar's ex-singer was unemployed, Holmes called Blackwood.

Her offer was perfectly timed after the demise of Dubstar in 2000. "There I was, wondering what the hell to do with my life," Blackwood says. "The next thing, I'm on tour with Depeche Mode!" But Blackwood pulled it off. She and Holmes clicked, started writing and making music together - and Client was born.

Depeche Mode's Andy Fletcher commissioned some demos. "Then we didn't hear from him for three months," Blackwood says. When he did get back, he offered a deal with his label, Toast Hawaii.

Client may have been born of convenience - synth player/ knob-twiddler Holmes needed a singer, Blackwood needed a musician - but they are more than that. "We balance each other really well," Holmes says. Grounded, sensible, she's a good foil for Blackwood. Prone to insecurity and depression, Blackwood admits her Dubstar days, with no female support, weren't her happiest. "Touring was hard. We're two girls together now, and it's nice."

By dressing suggestively rather than overtly sexy, they hope to entice people to look past the surface. Client make electronic music, but delve beneath that cold, robotic exterior and a lush pop heart emerges, glistening with warmth, wit and surging hooks. "We've always wanted to write pop music," Holmes says. "But we also wanted our music to sound dirty."

Groaning with scuzzy electronica, their new album is moody and atmospheric, powered by Joy Division-esque darkness, heady with melancholy. But it's also soaring, driven by compulsive rhythms and infectious melody.

Depeche Mode's Martin Gore sings on the stalking, mechanic "Overdrive". More unexpectedly, The Libertines' front men, Carl Barat and Pete Doherty, both appear. Doherty adds his jousting vocals to "Down To The Underground" and Barat sings on the kinky ode to monogamy, "Pornography".

With Client, Blackwood has found self-confidence and Holmes has earned artistic credibility. "We're not glitzy and polished, but we put out records that we're proud of," Blackwood says. Holmes agrees: "Success for us is not about chart hits, it's about being respected. That's a real, honest achievement."

The single 'City' is out on Monday on Toast Hawaii

�2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd. All rights reserved


Anonyme a dit…

I watched the band play a couple of times in the notting hill arts club i thought client were fantastic ... just whats needed a couple of girls doing serious rock n roll

Tommy Kennedy 1V zodoa Mgt

Anonyme a dit…

I watched the band play a couple of times in the notting hill arts club i thought client were fantastic ... just whats needed a couple of girls doing serious rock n roll

Tommy Kennedy 1V zodoa Mgt