Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Album Review: The Clientele - Minotaur

The Clientele are serving up more of the reverb-drenched dream pop they’ve perfected, but some slight tweaks to the formula make their new mini-album, Minotaur, more than just something to hold fans over to their next full-length release.

Passionate Clientele fans probably decided to pick Minotaur up the second they heard about it and their patronage will be rewarded. The first five songs are relaxed and gorgeous. The standout is “Jerry” with its bright and breezy tune, but “As the World Rises and Falls” is right behind it, both in sequence and in quality. It's as catchy a song as the band has ever written.

The bouncy tempo and muted trumpets of “Paul Verlaine” should delight as well giving Minotaur a trio of strong tracks that wouldn’t be out of place on a full release.

What makes the album really stand out are the diversions from the norm. The clangy guitar 2 minutes and 18 seconds into “Jerry” gives the track an edge. It’s as aggressive as you’ll hear The Clientele. The dark piano interlude “No. 33” and the surreal short story “The Green Man” give the album some creepiness to offset all of the smooth and sunny songs.

The biggest flaw with most Clientele albums is that they become a little dull after too long. These variations and the short length of the album ensure that the listener won’t get bored making it a great place for first-time listeners to start.

Minotaur delivers the classic Clientele sound long-time fans crave, but it’s also accessible enough for new fans making it one of the best albums the band has put out, mini or not.

Minotaur is out now on Merge Records.

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