It’s hard to feel sad about British band The Clientele’s uncertain future and potentially permanent hiatus while Amor de Días glows brightly. With songwriting partner Lupe Núñez-Fernández (also of the duo Pipas), Clientele frontman Alasdair MacLean continues to carry the torch of happy-sad songs of brightly performed melodies and melancholic lyrics. Finished in a fraction of the time it took to record their debut, The House at Sea, due January 29 on Merge, features a much more confident blend of woozy Spanish guitar, jazzy bossa nova rhythms and the pair’s seductively breathless vocals. At moments, the new album is occasionally darker than its predecessor, but it will likely appeal to the same fans of Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot, Belle & Sebastian and Nick Drake. Those longing for The Clientele should take note: producer Brian O’Shaughnessy (Primal Scream), who worked with them on 2005′s Strange Geometry, is back on the board here, and (former?) bandmates James Hornsey and Howard Monk provide an occasional rhythm section. Don’t take our word for it, though; give a listen to this exclusive preview of Amor de Días’ The House at Sea.