Winchester Cathedral

  • Record Label: Domino
  • Release Date: Aug 24, 2004

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Here, their structures adamantly circular and their tunes less catchy but more durable, they make dandy mystagogues on an album that begins inarticulate and attains the nirvana of total nonverbality.
  2. A band as talented and enjoyable as Clinic should be allowed to distill and advance their sound without getting tarred with the brush of stagnancy.
  3. What makes Winchester Cathedral stick out amongst their previous works, and make it their best release since Internal Wrangler, is a willingness to explore, albeit briefly, the previously malnourished middle ground between their seemingly two-speed approach.
  4. Although 'Winchester Cathedral' is quite obviously Clinic doing what they do best, it also represents the sound of a band who've clearly broadened their horizons.
  5. Though the songs are still Lou Reed-shaped and John Cale-fashioned, this follow-up to the Grammy-nominated Walking With Thee sees the scouse experimentalists embracing a jagged kind of pop.
  6. Alternative Press
    The results are as thrilling as ever. [Oct 2004, p.140]
  7. New Musical Express (NME)
    Music as taut, spare and ominous as The Bad Seeds at their most malevolent. [21 Aug 2004, p.49]
  8. Instead of evolving out of the band's unique style, Clinic has decided to enhance it and deepen it.
  9. Paste Magazine
    A brand new bag of impossible shapes, rumbaing in esoteric formation. [#13, p.121]
  10. Under The Radar
    The complete, sublime magic that the band unequivocally showed in their earlier work is a little diluted here. [#7]
  11. By any other band's standards, Winchester Cathedral would qualify as a strong to very strong effort. However, the feel of sameness prevents the record from surpassing the sum of its parts.
  12. Uncut
    Another delirious half-hour of, mainly, mannered asthmatic psychobilly. [Sep 2004, p.95]
  13. Minor aesthetic gripes aside though, ‘Winchester Cathedral’ is how you and I want Clinic to be.
  14. Clinic continues to wrap its post-punk jitter around a surprisingly tender core.
  15. Every new song of theirs could be three old ones, though, and while their drummer can pound out four on the floor, their organ player still can't squeeze out that 97th tear.
  16. Like the band's first two albums, Winchester Cathedral is solid. But also like its predecessors, the album suffers from the "Hey, didn't I already hear this song?" syndrome.
  17. One can't shake the feeling that formula is what's really at the heart of the record, and in light of the promise shown by their debut, that lack of fervor and off-the-cuff adventurousness is a difficult shortcoming to ignore.
  18. Winchester Cathedral may be a transition album, or it may just contain a few curveballs to keep discerning listeners on their toes -- only Clinic knows for certain.
  19. In and of itself, Winchester Cathedral is a fine introduction to Clinic and an entertaining 35 minutes of evocative rock. But it's hard to believe that at this late date, having been together for seven years, the band can't find new modes of musical expression.
  20. Blender
    All very beguilling as long as you really, really like the sound of a melodica. [Sep 2004, p.134]
  21. If it was pared down to its best tracks, Winchester Cathedral would make a solid EP. As it stands, it's far from bad, but it's a little boring, which is worse than bad from a band that has sounded so unique in the past.
  22. Should you own the band’s magnificent first three singles (collected on the “Three EPs” mini-album), it’s hard to imagine you’ll ever really need another record by this conceptually brilliant, artistic dead-end of a band.
  23. Spin
    Music as spooky--and ultimately as sterile--as the hospital scrubs and surgical masks they wear onstage. [Sep 2004, p.120]
  24. I'd be lying if I said this was bad music -- but perhaps worse, the bulk of this album fails to make any unique impression whatsoever.
  25. There are no new ideas, no points of interest.
  26. Q Magazine
    [Clinic] has misplaced the groove and settled for a rut. [Sep 2004, p.117]
  27. Whereas Walking With Thee was a wonderful relief in the indie/retro-rock world, pushing the band's internal parameters and the idea of what pop music should sound like, Winchester Cathedral feels more like a roadblock, or at least a pit stop, rather than a step forward in Clinic's previously innovative evolution.
  28. Mojo
    They sound a bit tired. [Sep 2004, p.98]
  29. Rolling Stone
    Much of the time it sounds like Clinic are just playing around with their noisemakers and not having much fun. [2 Sep 2004, p.141]
  30. It’s frustrating to listen to a band run in place, especially when the expectations are so much higher.
User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. MatthewS
    Nov 17, 2005
    Clinic might sound the same album to album to some, but this is only half true. This album still rocks an sways in a manner only Clinic can Clinic might sound the same album to album to some, but this is only half true. This album still rocks an sways in a manner only Clinic can pull off, incorporating elements of Surf Rock, Doo Wop, Punk, Noise, and this time European Folk into something quite uniquely them. In that sense it is quite unfair to discredit them for doing what they've always done, because they have always been original. Full Review »
  2. JesseS
    Oct 18, 2004
    Clinic sound like a menacing Liverpoolian Girls Against Boys, but more stripped down, eerie, and with a distinct indie home-on-the-range Clinic sound like a menacing Liverpoolian Girls Against Boys, but more stripped down, eerie, and with a distinct indie home-on-the-range English sensibility. It doesn't make a lot of sense but comes together quite nicely. Unlike the general consensus, I like this one better than "Internal Wrangler". Full Review »