Melbourne’s “international in flavour, cosmopolitan in style” duo Client Liaison have finally exited the studio with their first full length offering in the shape of Diplomatic Immunity. Much like the ever-changing political landscape they frequently reference, Client Liaison’s debut album flits from power ballads to seething club pop tunes, never resting on one genre long enough to be truly categorised. Lead singer Monte Morgan’s vocals have never sounded stronger, and his compositions with Harvey Miller mark clear growth in showmanship and maturity of the band.
The echoing keys of’ ‘Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight’ establish its ’80s disco vibe while the squelching bass tones give the opening track a modern facelift. The addition of Australiana wildlife squawks and senate arguments make for a densely packed album opener, along with its heavy usage of political jargon that never enters everyday conversations. ‘Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight’ is easily one of the highlights of Diplomatic Immunity, and it lays out the album’s eclectic mixture of modern electro-pop with 1980s disco, and the current and past political landscape.
Fans lucky enough to catch Client Liaison on their last AU tour would have seen the band duet with GL’s Ella Thompson to perform ‘A Foreign Affair’. For Diplomatic Immunity, the band recruited Aussie export Tina Arena to flick ethereal highs and lows around Morgan’s crooning melodies in the studio. Soft balladry casts the song back into the mid-1980s synthpop that bred artists like Eurogliders and Pseudo Echo, offering a chance for the melody and lyrics to tell the tale of a mile high foreign affair.
‘Off White Limousine’ appears to be the next single for the band, with Melbourne’s subreddit flaring up at the sighting of Morgan and Miller cruising along Collins St in, you guessed it, an off-white limousine. Clean funk staccato guitar riffs carry the stilted verse into a shimmering synth rise to a chorus so beautiful, Matthew Healy would shed a jealous tear.
As the album nears the 30-minute mark, ‘The Bravest Beginnings’ poses as a slow-burning reprieve from the intense disco sounds encompassing the first half of Diplomatic Immunity. It doesn’t take too long for the song to shed its minimal soundscape as it unleashes a buttery guitar solo flowing smoother than smoke into the night sky.
The sense of urgency increases with the following track ‘Home’ thanks to the sliding vocal wails courtesy of Miller Miller’s girlfriend, Sarah Carr, morphing the track into what could be a winding story about how love takes a backseat on tour. The rear end of the album mightn’t hold the high-octane dance grooves, but the slower, more intricate tracks like ‘Home’ and ‘Electric Eyes’ feature a new depth of songwriting from the Client Liaison boys.
This is the first time fans are allowed an honest insight into the band seen as a revolutionary blast from the past, and it’s partly thanks to the confidence displayed by Miller and Morgan that this connection can be forged.
From both members of GL contributing parts, to Flight Facilities offering production work and vibe consultancy, Diplomatic Immunity sees Client Liaison offer a comprehensive list of songs that perfectly encapsulateeverything the duo are about. This is one record worth putting on the company card.
Diplomatic Immunity is out this Friday through Dot Dash / Remote Control