Album Reviews

Clinic – Visitations

(Domino) UK release date: 16 October 2006

Clinic - Visitations There isn’t a single band around at the moment that resemble Clinic, and the Liverpool band’s fourth album finds them reaching the same high sonic standards.

Their unusual, widescreen sound can sound likethrash guitar being played in an enormous garage, akind of crossbreed of grunge and Phil Spector perhaps. But it would be doing the group a disserviceto suggest their sound has been too derived.

Sure, there are elements of other styles – a Stone Roses groove here and there, or the spaced out Lust For Life-type bass riff that provides the base for Harvest (Within You). But even here, the far-off organ and disembodied backing vocals lend an entirely new slant.

Tracks like Animal/Human find them completely on their own. Here a brief meditation takes place over a droned bass, its solemn stillness strangely uplifting. Likewise Children Of Kellogg, which has to be heard to be believed – a bizarre episode in the fairground acting as an upbeat for a bluesy thrash-out that changes direction at the drop of a hat, and ends with somebody sawing wood. Now that would make you choke on your cornflakes.

When not attending to intricate combinations of texture the quartet rock for their lives. An exhilarating rush of distortion takes over Gideon, while Tusk careers into the mosh pit at breakneck speed, burning itself out. The one real respite comes in the centre of the record, as Paradise takes a mildly reverential tone with singer Ade Blackburn repeating the hookline “the love you need to give.”

Repeated listening only serves to enhance the whole experience, bringing fresh marvels at the textures. The combinations shouldn’t work but they do, the blend of sounds from close by and far off giving the perfect accompaniment to Blackburn’s heavily treated vocal.

The whole thing’s over in just over half an hour, but provides ample food for thought. What’s more, I guarantee when you’ve listened to it once you’ll be happy for a repeat experience almost immediately.

In a scene saturated with predictable guitar bands Clinic are a refreshing alternative, pleasingly unhinged and resolutely refusing to conform to type. More power to their elbows.

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