The Clean: Mister Pop

There’s always been a hint of a Pink Floyd fixation in the Clean’s efforts; the title of their 2003 live album, Syd’s Pink Wiring System being but one indication. On their new album, the New Zealand ensemble – which celebrated their 30th anniversary this past year – make further bows to those psychedelic forebears in ways that leave no doubt as to both their references and reverence. Make no mistake, Mister Pop also lives up to its title’s billing, but given the glassy-eyed chants of “Are You Really On Drugs,” the psychedelic stirrings of “Asleep in the Tunnels” and the celestial send-ups of instrumentals like “Loog” and “Simple Fix,” the band’s cosmic inclinations remain all too evident. Happily, the Clean can still rock – or, shall we say, romp – with songs such as “In the Dream Life You Need a Rubber Soul,” “Tensile” and “Back in the Day,” conveying a distinctly appealing and infectious sound that clings just as mightily to those aforementioned pop precepts. When taken in tandem, Mister Pop provides a strangely surreal serenade. (Merge 2009)

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