Hot off the presses: new music! Better said, new music that is worth your time.
Clinic – Wheeltappers and Shunters – 12 tracks / 27 minutes
In which one of my favorite bands from college finally returns to something close to their old sound.
When I first heard Clinic’s 2002 sophomore album Walking With Thee, I immediately fell in love with this collection of bizarre talent from Britain (oh, ya, they perform and appear in public in surgical outfits and masks). That record is still one of my favorites of all time, with its art-punk awesomeness. They went on to release some more good music, notably Visitations and Do It!, but about ten years ago switched things up and began recording music that leaned in heavily on electronic and techno vibes, much to my chagrin. I am pleased to report that with this latest effort, they are back to their original bizarre-rock style.
No, this album is nowhere near as groundbreaking as the aforementioned Walking, but it does have the same template of sound, including the fantastic electric harmonica that dominated their early work. “Laughing Cavalier” kicks things off with a sneering sarcastic attack on blissful idiocy and complacence, complete with fake laughter to boot. On the haunting “Complex”, the whispered backup vocals steal the show: “From night to day and day to night…”. “Ferryboat of the Mind” is a lovely instrumental that encapsulates everything that I love about their unique and unusual sound, all in two minutes.
Those unfamiliar with this band might be better served to start with Walking With Thee or Do It!, but the first few songs on this album will give you a flavor – even though it is a slightly weaker variety. The mere fact that they have returned to their roots makes me hopeful that their best may still be yet to come.
Key Tracks: “Laughing Cavalier”, “Ferryboat of the Mind”, “Complex”
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/29dq0K1Y0GQDmBq40Q3nux?si=NKD2-xQqQQ6_4DiTUvrOKw
Mac DeMarco – Here Comes the Cowboy
Mac is not a cowboy, rather a terrific slacker-musician, and for the most part this album seems lost and without much substance. This is a shame, because I have enjoyed much of his recent work and found his live set last year to be very pleasing.
“Preoccupied” is a sweet albeit biting commentary on our current fixation with electronic screens, and “All of Our Yesterdays” is as strong as about anything he has released, but beyond that there is not much here.