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2010/11/03 / monteurhulot

ALBUM // Clinic – Bubblegum

Few bands puzzle me more than Clinic. They had the potential to be one of the most interesting bands of the new millennium. 2000’s Internal Wrangler let forth with a frantic, organ-drenched stomp that played like an other-dimensional version of legendary mutant-beat-band The Monks. (Thanks, ’66 West German television!) A few tracks took more a hushed approach, giving the world the incredible “Distortions.” Clinic toured with Radiohead. Kid A era Radiohead. Walking With Thee proved a solid folllow-up, cleaner in sound. Winchester Cathedral, Visitations and Do It! were by no means disastersif any of them had been the band’s debut, it would have been a revelation. Yet while Clinic had a unique sound, the repetition of their formula left each album devoid of the power that Internal Wrangler possessed.

Clinic has stuck closely to the pattern of releasing a record on Domino every two years, and with October 2010’s Bubblegum they have floated far enough away from the model established by Internal Wrangler that I find I can listen to the band with new ears.  “Evelyn” and “Orangutan” are classic Clinic through-and-through, but elsewhere they let themselves float freely, veering from their singular sound to splatter styles of the past with their brand of peculiar psychedelia, touching on surf, exotica, AM pop and 70’s folk-rock, (if there were legal penalties for use of the phrase “70’s folk-rock,” I would be jailed for life) making each of them comfortingly psychotic in a way only Clinic can.

Comfortingly psychotic? For example, a video “brought to you by the Starlake Cosmic Sun Owl Commune.”

Bubblegum is out on Domino.

 

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