As retro-British ‘60s pop aficionados, the Clientele imagine themselves as writers of lovable, obscure b-sides. Rather than aim for the permanent hook and the high-profile chorus of a Merseybeat hit single, they scale down their ambitions to the quieter, darker and quirkier moments where melancholia takes hold. Produced by Nashville producer Mark Nevers of Lambchop, God Save the Clientele is the group’s cleanest sounding album. The excessive reverb is virtually M.I.A., yet the group sacrifices none of their trippy haze. “Isn’t Life Strange?” gently advances with its haunting George Harrison All Things Must Pass ambience courtesy of Louis Philippe’s string arrangement. “Honorary member,” the Autumn Defense’s Pat Sansone, adds piano, guitars and/or backing vocals to five tracks and his ‘70s AM pop sense does seem to bump these Londoners into the smoother reaches of mellow soft rock (“From Brighton Beach to Santa Monica”). While modest changes have been employed, it’s still Alasdair MacLean’s songwriting and whispery delivery that pulls off the rainy day beauty of a track like “The Queen of Seville.” The piano sprinkles and sweeps of pedal steel just compliment his unerring sense of sorrow.