The Clientele â Minotaur
Label:Merge (US) , Pointy (UK)
Release date: 06/09/10
Website: Official Website
The Clientele, a band that has been churning out albums and EPs like thereâs no tomorrow, bring another outing in Minotaur, a mini-album full to the brim with their usual brisk folk mixed with some light experimentation.
The folk manufactured by The Clientele is pretty breezy, like a sunny afternoon in the park, with the extra value of some inklings of extra instrumentation to add an extra value to your folksy experience. Let's look at the extra organ playing on a song like âAs the world rises and falls', which although buried a little in the mix, it still adds an extra dimension of trippiness to the folksy and poppy sound of the band.
The poppy angle is skewered in what probably is the best track in Minotaur, the deceitful 'Jerry', which does has a foreboding sound (dig that electric guitar riff) that culminates in a sombre prelude that explodes into a psychedelic jam that is pretty much the gem of this mini-album. This dark undertone will be revisited later.
There is a couple of bad parts to this album and they are 'Paul Verlaine' and 'Strange town', the ugly ducklings lost in the middle of Minotaur. They are not bad songs, by any means, no. But they lack something, although they might be there for a reason, and that is, to buffer for what's coming next. That dark undertone mentioned before, yes? Well, things take a sombre turn in the piano-driven âNo. 33â, a sort of derailment on the happy train the album was up until this point. An old trick they pulled on 2003âs The Violet Hour.
Minotaur does change jarringly after âNo. 33â, it really does. A spoken word interlude called âThe Green Manâ feels pretty chilling, sounding like a recollection of a bad memory told in a stream of consciousness.
The creepy atmospheric noises donât help and if youâre like me, youâll need to go to some of the warmer songs from the beginning. Itâs a trick they pulled with âLosing Haringeygeyâ (in 2005âs Strange Geometry), but whilst that was done in a nicer fashion, this feels like a bad trip. However, if you ride it through âThe Green Manâ like a real soldier and wait for âNothing Here Is What It Seemsâ, you'll be back to the breezier side of The Clientele. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all.