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The Clientele: Minotaur EP


The Clientele

Album: Minotaur EP
Label: Merge

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Unlike The Clientele’s typically slight between-album EPs, Minotaur runs eight songs and 30 minutes, which makes it almost an album unto itself. And one of those songs, a spoken-word piece called “The Green Man,” written by bassist James Hornsey, practically serves as a Clientele thesis statement, with its lines about how the dust of the past hangs in the air, ready to be inhaled. Minotaur’s back half is fairly trifling, but the EP’s first five songs are as strong as any in The Clientele’s catalogue, starting with the title track, which has lightly plucked acoustic guitar and a soft string section chasing each other idly around Alasdair MacLean’s honeyed voice while he sings about the unsettling feeling of being overtaken. Just as good: “Jerry,” which alternates slashing psychedelia and upbeat, nostalgic pop, and “Paul Verlaine,” a bouncy, horn-pumped British Invasion exercise that sums up the wonder of The Clientele in one four-word phrase: “Such an insubstantial day.” No one knows more than MacLean and company how the insubstantial can have its own powerful allure.