It was just after the new millennium when I discovered Liverpool’s noise makers, Clinic. With the release of the bands 2000 full length debut, Internal Wrangler, I was hooked on my very first listen. That record was like nothing my ears had heard before, equal parts post-punk and kraut rock played with vigor on vintage instruments. They sounded like they came from another planet. They followed Wrangler up in 2002 with the arguably stronger and Grammy nominated Walking with Thee. A record that retains the bands fuzzed out experimentalism but offered listener friendly melodies. What came next was in a word, confusing. Although the band never made a bad record, the albums that followed seemed a little uninspired and stagnant. Although I would revisit those early releases frequently, I shied away from the bands newer material. That is of course, until now.
Prior to the release of Bubblegum, Clinic’s sixth and to my ears, finest record to date, Clinic promised reinvention. At first I took that with a grain of salt, but once I heard it I was sold. By marrying acoustic guitars, dulcimers, and mandolins with the bands signature sound, the band has delivered an inspired and ambitious record.
The album starts out with I’m Aware also the first single taken from Bublegum. It’s a somber and hazy pop song that finds Ade Blackburn vocals offering solace with the lyric “in the dark, you’re never gone”, the gentle vibes our supported by backing harmonies on the track. Elsewhere the band punches up the distortion on Lion Tamer, a song best described as classic Clinic, propelled by Carl Turney’s pounding drums and Blackburns’ fuzzed up vocals. The gorgeous hushed folk of Another Way of Giving might just be Bubblegum’s finest track, however this record has a knack of giving us a favorite new track with each listen.
Clinic have fulfilled their promise of reinvention with an album filled with lush psychedelic pop and a literal dose of feral noise. Bubblegum is assessable, engaging and a pure jaw dropper of a record.
Bubblegum was released by Domino Records on October 5th and can be purchased at the label's store, brick and mortar shops, or your favorite digital retailer.
Clinic play The Paradise on Monday November 8th with The Fresh & Onlys and Viva Viva.
Clinic - I'm Aware