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Clinic - Winchester Cathedral - Domino Records

by Matt

::Clinic - Winchester Cathedral ::Domino Records ::2004

The new Clinic album Winchester Cathedral is solid. It's predominately quick-paced, intense, and driving, all while being tempered with moments of a slower, mellower composition. The instrumentation features heavy doses of piano, clarinet, tambourine, and melodica to combine with the normal indie-fare. And while the vocals remain murky, hidden, and verge on inaudibility, I think they function well within the band's overall aesthetic of shadowy, fiery grit.

Despite these attributes, however, a brief survey of the album's recent reviews elicits an overall mixed-to-lukewarm reaction. Most seem to enjoy it, but they do so with reservations and a sense of disappointment. From what I can gather, this frustration stems from clinic's lack of diversion from their traditional sound or stylistic formula of art-rock. Clinic prefaced this album by saying that it would mark something of a "significant departure" from their previous works. But in the end, this evolution was not as pronounced as originally promised, leaving the album open to criticism.

I have listened to both of Clinic's previous works, and I agree Winchester does not alert significantly from their past. However, I do not think that this should necessarily detract from the actual album and its overall qualities. Judged on its own merits - not on expectations of what it was ‘supposed' to be - I believe Winchester remains quite strong. The new album takes some of the more urgent, poignant moments of the past (a la "The Equalizer" of Walking with Thee) and refines them into an impressive finished product. It may not be revolutionary, but Winchester should still be prized for its noisy drive, anxious passion, and nervy determination.

Track highlights:

#2 circle of fifths

#7 w.d.y.y.b.

#8 the majestic

#11 thank you (for living)

**** (4 asterisk-stars out of 5)

matt::applejacktheylack::indie-freeform-collage::thursdays 6-8am:: playlists + more @ http://www.livejournal.com/~applejacklack/


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