Album: Internal Wrangler
Reason Featured: #9 Album for Pitchfork’s Top Twenty Albums of 2000, #43 Album for NME’s Top Fifty Albums of 2000
My Favorite Songs: The Return of Evil Bill, Internal Wrangler, Distortions
Their Grades: NME (6/10), Pitchfork (9.3/10)
My Grade: 85%
For a band hailing from Liverpool, Clinic sounded to me at first like a group who had to be from Brooklyn. There’s something so New York City about their sound, so urban in its anxieties, strengths and diversities. The opening drum slaps on “Voodoo Wop” make you think David Byrne before any of The Beatles come to mind. In their execution, they’re clinically precise, as you would expect, but also untameable and unpredictable. Beethoven melody lines show up alongside harsh beats (“DJ Shangri-La”) and classicism wrangles constantly with chaos.
The guys from Clinic dress in surgical scrubs and masks when performing. Ade Blackburn’s singing is, thus, masked and muffled but you still want to hang on to every mumble. Whether he’s frenetic (“The Return of Evil Bill,” “Hippy Death Suite,” etc.) or collected (“Distortions,” “Earth Angel,” etc.), you know he’s got just the medicine you need. Not to mention, the keyboards herein are some of the most unique pads you’ll find and, particularly on “Distortions,” some of the most calmingly anesthetic. This is the kind of record you think you’re dreaming of the entire time, complete with rapid eye movements and rejuvenating rests and pauses.
I’ve known about Clinic since discovering them on MySpace back in high school. Back then, I found them intriguing and original and my opinion remains the same. For some reason though, they’ve never become a band I return to on the regular for the alternating soundtracks of solaces and freakouts they so admirably provide.