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Wheeltappers and Shunters was recorded in 2018 in founding band member Hartley's Liverpool studio, before they brought in Dilip Harris (King Krule, Sons Of Kemet, Mount Kimbie) to mix it. “We thought it felt right to make a fun, dancefloor album in these dark and conservative times,” Blackburn continues. Fun, sure, but this is Clinic – their brand of fun oozes with menace.
The Great Britain that Clinic are evoking is not that ancient, bucolic past of village green cricket, half a mild and hanky-waving Morris Dancers that many seem so determined that the country should return to, but a rather more sleazy past. Clinic’s reverie is for a time when Blackpool was the pleasure capital of the kingdom and the public was kept entertained by travelling circuses and the dirty glamour of the funfair; tacky end of the pier merriment and enforced fun at Butlins; when bell-ringing town criers bellowed their nonsensical broadsides into the ether.
For most bands about to enter their third decade as an entity the well would be running dry, but eight albums in and Clinic still retain the ability to surprise. Clocking in at just over 28 minutes, Wheeltappers and Shunters is an absolute blast, rich in detail and sonic intrigue, those precious minutes stuffed with ideas. “We’d released albums like clockwork every two years, so it seemed natural to have a break,” Blackburn reveals. “It allowed everyone to do some quite oddball stuff, away from Clinic. I think we all wanted a bit more freedom.”
Barry says: Comfortingly warm and brilliantly varied, 'Wheeltappers and Shunters' perfectly treads the line between jagged, unpredictable psychedelia and smoothly redolent rock music, with enough of an edge to remain interesting and the perfect amount of sweetness to keep the listener fully on-board. Lovely.
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