Back in the days when I used to live exclusively in band t-shirts, one of my favourites was the Wedding Present's All The Songs Sound The Same. Intended as a disarming yet scathing riposte to the critics who voiced this opinion, it said that there's absolutely nothing wrong with it if the song sounds so good in the first place.
Right from the very first time they donned their operating theatre outfits, Clinic have invited similar sentiments. And with The Magician, established Clinic fans will find themselves in very familiar territory. They may need some convincing that this is a new track from forthcoming album Winchester Cathedral and not something they've heard already. All the usual elements are present and correct: Ade Blackburn's strained, indecipherable vocal, intentionally dumb harmonium warbling, and the driving, uncompromising proto-punk backdrop.
While repeated listens revealed David Gedge's lot had subtle variations, no amount of in-depth analysis can separate The Magician from the growing pile of standard Clinic fare. All the songs really do sound the same, but this time perhaps in a bad way. I dearly hope the album proves me wrong.