Sunday, August 8, 2021

#22 Client - CLIEИT

Original release date: August 2003.

I can't exactly remember how I ran across Client. It might have been through a search for a post title or it could have been a YouTube algorithm. I have a suspicion I might have come at them backwards from Dubstar although why the hell I would have been looking up Dubstar in the first place escapes me now... or does it? 

I think I might have been following a trail that started with White Town's Your Woman. I do remember wanting to hear that again late one night. From there its not too much of a leap to Sneaker Pimps and Six Underground and then you're right in it with early-mid 90s also-rans and three-hit wonders, which is Dubstar all over.

Sarah Blackwood, aka Client B, has an unmistakable voice. I struggle to think of anyone who sings both as clinically and with such a deliberate hometown accent. I'd like to say I recognized her straight away but obviously I have no idea.

As with so many singers and bands that received blanket airplay back in the days when radio ruled, Dubstar sound a lot better today than when they were bothering the charts. The other member of the group, Kate Holmes, was formerly a member of Frazier Chorus, who I remember by name only and later a band called Technique, of whom I had never even heard. 

Technique are really hard to find on YouTube but very much worth it when you do. It's immediately apparent how their sound and Dubstar's led to Client. Frazier Chorus not so much, thankfully. Dubstar and Technique sound a little empty, emotionally. Client, though, just sound terrifying. 

However it was that I found Client, I liked them a lot right away. I liked the whole bitter anonymity of the conceit, two women, known only as Client A and Client B, dressed in near-monochrome, vaguely totalitarian, quasi-uniform clothing, intoning bleak, existentialist lyrics in near-affectless voices over a soulless, inhuman electronic drone, occasionally interspersed with robotic bleeps and the sounds of distant sirens. Seriously, what's not to like?

Client, at times augmented to a trio with the addition of Client E (Emily Mann aka Emily Strange) and Client C (Charlotte Hatherly) made five albums between  2003 and 2014. I own the first two. The eponymous debut got the nod although honestly, once again, it might just as easily have been the follow-up, City, which features Pete Doherty and Carl Barat of the Libertines, on separate tracks, as well as Martin Gore of Depeche Mode on a third.

Sarah and Kate don't need any heavy friends. The critics may not have been impressed and sales certainly don't seem to have set any records but I've played both these albums over and over in the last few years. I should probably buy the other three now.


  1. They remind me a lot of Lush, but that might just be because I don't know a lot of bands in this genre, and because I loved Lush so much, I just hear them in everything.

    I like Client. That song in the school gym was just awesome :-)

    1. Lush's reputation has grown and grown over the years. I saw them at a local festival in the 90s and they were fun but I don't remember anyone taking them very seriously. Now they're an iconic band. Makes me wish I'd paid more attention at the time. Also that I should go look at their back catalog now.


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