Thursday, May 03, 2007

Patrick Cleandenim - The Guardian

Wednesday May 2, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Hometown: New York City.

The line-up: Patrick Cleandenim is aided and abetted by several eccentrically monikered musicians including Oto Gillen and Nathan Whipple, which might be East Village rhyming slang. Or not.

The background: If you like orchestral pop - which you should, because it is without doubt one of the great contemporary music genres along with Lovers Rock, postpunk funk, avant-disco and symphonic soul - you should at least investigate the impossibly named Patrick Cleandenim, a 22-year-old New Yorker who grew up in Lawrence, Kansas with Bobby Darrin/Dion DiMucci-style doo-wop and rock'n'roll coursing through his veins, as well as an innate desire to encourage listeners to do jazz hands.

Cleandenim - or Hygienicjeans to his friends - attended the East Village Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art where he wrote and produced short films and music of cinematic scope - not that the end product always matched the grandness of his ambition. In 2003, he was a high school senior playing in a Radiohead-inspired trio called Clockwork, but he soon got that out of his system and re-immersed himself in Brill Building songcraft and Broadway theatricality to make the music you can now hear - at affordable prices, too! - on his debut album Baby Comes Home. Music with titles like Hollywood and Caviar & Cognac that reeks of spats, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers terpsichorean wonder and, well, caviar and cognac. Music that swings (remember that?), all sleighbells, vibraphone, and sophisticated brass and vocal parts, topped off by Cleandenim's rich delivery and lush strings, testament to his skills as a classic-pop arranger based on an encyclopedic knowledge of everything from Motown to movie soundtracks to gritty mid-60s R&B. Just don't use it as an opportunity to do jazz hands. Please.

The buzz: "Like debuts by the Strokes, Oasis and even the Beatles, Baby Comes Home is a wall-to-wall clinic in songwriting."

The truth: Forgive the pedantry, but the Beatles' debut wasn't actually much cop, but point taken.

Most likely to: Scare the baggy-suit pants off Rufus Wainwright.

Least likely to: Appeal to lovers of death metal or industrial grindcore.

File next to: Runt-era Todd Rundgren, Neil Sedaka, Nilsson, David Vandervelde.

What to buy: Baby Comes Home is now out on Broken Horse.

Links: Official site MySpace page

Tomorrow's new band: I Was A King.

Paul Lester

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