The Clientele


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The Clientele's 2009 album Bonfires on the Heath was one of the best, most hauntingly beautiful records of the band’s impressive career -- so strong that it spawned an equally wonderful EP made up of songs recorded at the Bonfires sessions that were deemed suitable for the album itself. Hard to believe that they couldn’t find room for the title track, "Minotaur," as its fragile melody and sweetly swaying dynamics would have fit in perfectly. The same with the bouncing and sweet "Paul Verlaine"; it would have been one of the more memorable tracks there. That these songs were indeed left off only points out how good Bonfires was, and how easily the Clientele concoct note-perfect autumnal pop. Add in a moodily drifting cover of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's creepy ballad from the late '60s, “As the World Rises and Falls,” a couple of tracks that hit the usual Clientele sweet spot between heartbreak and tender melancholy, and a long spoken word ramble from leader Alasdair MacLean, and you have a record that rises above stopgap or leftovers status. Minotaur is as essential as anything else the band has released, and whether as part of Bonfires or on its own, the record stands as a welcome addition to the Clientele's legacy as one of the great indie pop bands of their era.

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