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by Ted S. McGregor Jr. and Carey Murphy & r & The Clientele & lt;a href= & quot; & amp;offerid=78941.464994841 & amp;type=10 & amp;subid= & quot; & Strange Geometry & lt;/a & *** & r & Since Luna called it quits in the past year, I've been searching for their replacement. Her Space Holiday is the current leader in this quest. But with their most recent album, the Clientele deserves some of my attention. More complex and complete than 2003's Violet Hour, Strange Geometry is a meditation on a failed relationship, but one that doesn't slip into sentimental schlock to make its weepy point. Centered on a successful sense of the restrained, the album slow-cores its pinpricking guitars through wispy and ethereal fields of psychedelia. It's autumnal and thus perfect for a rainy November.

Standout track "E.M.P.T.Y." is everything a Dean Wareham fan needs: just enough upbeat poppy-jangle and string-arrangement winsomeness to mask the tremor and terror in the lyrics. "Spirit" works because singer-guitarist Alasdair MacLean's "got so much feeling inside," without insulting the listener by explicitly naming it. The production on the album, however, makes it almost too clean. I need some rough edges to believe the pain of the lyrics. -- Carey Murphy

Electric Light Orchestra & lt;a href= & quot; & amp;offerid=78941.464994873 & amp;type=10 & amp;subid= & quot; & All Over the World & lt;/a & *** & r & Huh? Why is Electric Light Orchestra releasing yet another greatest hits collection in late 2005? Well, like most things from the 1970s, their music is back in style -- I'm only surprised it took this long. "Mr. Blue Sky" landed a starring role in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; a cover of "Strange Magic" was featured in Ella Enchanted; and now "Do Ya" is all over TV on a ad (though it's not on this CD).

ELO was the prog-rock project of Jeff Lynne (later a Traveling Wilbury), but the band owed more to the Beatles than Bowie. Sure, with its big sounds (including electric violin), ELO was all about bombast. But when you strip it down, it's really straight-ahead pop. Some of this music holds up pretty well; I love it because one of my first albums was A New World Record, but if Hollywood is any judge, other people love it, too.

My bet for the next ELO gem to come back: "Xanadu," originally sung by Olivia Newton John in the bad movie of the same name. -- Ted S. McGregor Jr.
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