The Clean

Mister Pop

A staple of New Zealand pop music since the early 1980s, The Clean have an impressive worldwide underground audience that has waited eight years for a new record. Each of the three members of The Clean has his individual band, and one member is based in New York City, so the delay of Mister Pop makes sense. The 10 new songs gel as one work nonetheless, and sound a lot like their last album, 2002’s The Getaway, with dreamy instrumentals getting equal time with jangly sing-song numbers. Unlike The Clean’s earliest work, there are no edges in the music here; even the guitar feedback sounds melodic. A keyboard-driven instrumental, “Loog,” opens the album and sets the mood with its warm, humid and spongy lounge tone. Standouts include “In the Dream Life You Need a Rubber Soul,” with a melody that nods to the Hollies, and the upbeat toe-tapper, “Tensile,” that recalls 1970s German group Neu!, as does the rapid instrumental “Moonjumper.” The closer is a whispery hymn, as gentle as it is haunting, conjuring up an image of reclining on a feather bed in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.