Clinic: Wheeltappers and Shunters (Domino) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Wheeltappers and Shunters


May 21, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Liverpudlian quartet Clinic have bewildered listeners and confounded expectations for over two decades now. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Wheeltappers and Shunters continues that trait.

Their eighth studio album and first collection of new recordings since 2012’s Free Reign, Wheeltappers and Shunters combines all the elements of classic Clinic and more. Which can basically be summarized as expect the unexpected.

As with all of its predecessors, Wheeltappers and Shunters doesn’t outstay its welcome, clocking in at just over two minutes short of half an hour. For a band who’ve been all but impossible to pigeonhole from the outset, this represents another genre transcending excursion into territories many of their peers would never consider.

Psychedelic in places, baroque and melancholic in others, Wheeltappers and Shunters could almost be a collection of fairground rides in the most dystopian theme park of your wildest dreams. “Give us a reason, give us a sign, ever evolving, before your eyes,” declares Ade Blackburn on opener “Laughing Cavalier” as if communicating the band’s mantra in one couplet.

Recent single “Rubber Bullets” follows a similar theme, Blackburn’s sinister chant of “Neanderthal!” punctuating its very core. Things get even weirder when 36-second long interlude “Angel” provides a succulent bridge into the erratic “Ferryboat of the Mind.”

“D.I.S.C.I.P.L.E.” and “Congratulations” take their respective mantles from opposite ends of Clinic’s bipolar spectrum while closing number “New Equations (at the Copacabana)” leaves an eerie spacious ending that suggests the next instalment might just be around the corner.

Let’s hope so, because Clinic are something of a national institution. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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