The Violet Hour

  • Record Label: Merge
  • Release Date: Jul 8, 2003

Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. As impressive as the early singles were, the material on The Violet Hour is often commensurate, sometimes superior.
  2. Such are The Clientele’s gifts that its hard to believe The Violet Hour is only their debut album; few bands with more impressive vintages and prolific back-catalogues have managed to make records as touching, cohesive and deeply seeped in their own character as The Clientele have here.
  3. There probably won't be many albums in 2003 that will combine images, sounds and deepfelt emotions as well as The Violet Hour.
  4. Uncut
    This is surely one of the most magical pop albums of 2003. [Sep 2003, p.112]
  5. The understated instrumental, tempo and mood variations are what make The Violet Hour so great -- by the time you reach the closing track, you have not once been jarred out of the reverie induced by the opening title track.
  6. It's rare that a band can recreate such a broad measure of emotions with such a soft palette.
  7. The group's cohesion is the cornerstone of the album; no one instrument stands out, while each contributes equally to the whole. And it's the trio's loose arrangements and subtle interplay that leave center stage to the thoughtful and provocative lyrics.
  8. To what some chortle is a limited palette, the Clientele adds some new instrumentation-- steel and Spanish guitar, field recordings, violin, chimes-- to create a dense yet rich tapestry of hazy pop, like Felt at their most impressionistic.
  9. Was it worth the wait? Well, it is for those who favor the kind of retro-futurist pop that recalls the mood-drenched fog of Galaxie 500 decorated with Byrdsian guitar filigrees.
  10. Every so often a record pops up that seems to exist in some alien world, unscathed by hipster fads and driven forward only by its own gorgeous mindset. With 'The Violet Hour', The Clientele have made a beautifully haunting album of music to take drugs to make music to take drugs to.
  11. Suburban Light grew a little wearying because of a tonal similarity in songs recorded over a period of years, but The Violet Hour sounds deeper and more deliberate, enveloping its listeners like a fast-rolling fog.
  12. The Clientele’s debut album offers consistently strong melodies, excellent playing, occasional surprise, and a taste for more.
  13. The Violet Hour not only perfects the gorgeously hazy pop of their previous releases, it also adds a guileless freshness to it that is completely apt for their debut album.
  14. The more involved the songs get, the more ethereal they end up, and not always to the good.
  15. Though The House Always Wins unlocks a tidal wave of frustration with its nervy guitars, the change of pace can't prevent the numbness.
  16. Though the songs are altogether pleasant, they more often than not fail to make a unique impression, instead fading into the background like lovely, though unchanging, scenery.
  17. The band too rarely steps out of its dream pop mode to actually move the listener.
  18. Mojo
    Some may bemoan the lack of scope in these hushed meditations.... But more will find comfort in the warm surrender of The Clientele's aesthetic. [Sep 2003, p.113]
  19. Alternative Press
    They're so busy crafting the perfect pop song... that they've made a uniformly dull album. [Sep 2003, p.102]

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. samuelr
    Aug 23, 2005
    Too caught up in creating a general sound than decent sounding songs
  2. JacquesDerrida
    Jun 1, 2005
    A virtually perfect mood album. The hazy vocals and languid guitar combine for a sound that, while not overly inventive, is distinct in its A virtually perfect mood album. The hazy vocals and languid guitar combine for a sound that, while not overly inventive, is distinct in its own right. Think Belle and Sebastian with more distortion. Can't wait for their next offering. Full Review »
  3. otoniel
    May 16, 2005
    This is the perfect dream pop album to make love to.