Archive for December 2, 2009

Clinic – Walking With Thee

December 2, 2009 Leave a comment

Universal Records, 2002

I know these guys have a little bit of a following, and I certainly included them in my big haul post earlier on, but I had to write something up about them because this really was a stab in the dark when I picked it up. I had heard the name, vaguely, which usually ends up being a scenario where I pick up a semi-popular band’s worst album. I also liked the cover art which resembled something done by Piet Mondrian, who I actually had to look up to verify and frankly, I have no idea why I remembered art by that guy. Must have been the colors. In any case, there I was, staring at this faintly familiar, Mondrian-based album and thought it was a good idea to pick it up. I would have to say that I was right in this rare case.

Truthfully, it’s difficult to explain what Clinic sounds like on this record.  In some cases they sound very urgent and in other cases they sound moodily quiet.   When they want to invoke excitement in the listener, they usually do so by composing a tune that is not immediately loud yet builds a gradual energy through a collection of musical factors.  For instance, “The Equaliser” has a continuous sound that reminds me of someone playing the spoons in a corner of a stairwell while Ade Blackburn sings as if he was nervous about making a deal in said stairwell.   Although it never really escalates into an audio assault, the song builds up a steady stream of energy that is up to the listener to keep up with.  A similar song to this that I liked was “Come Into Our Room”, where Blackburn utilizes his voice to sound more creepy to match the mood of the rather urgent keyboards and hi-hats.  Truth is, Blackburn’s vocals aren’t particularly strong, but they do work very well as an additional instrument that become malleable based on the tone of a song.

Give these guys a listen at their website or their MySpace page.

There are some pretty songs (“Mr. Moonlight”) and sometimes rather jarring songs (“Pet Eunuch”), but Clinic seems to come across as veering more towards the former based on the quieter, somewhat non-confrontational majority on this record. However, as their most record in 2008 attests, Clinic is still doing whatever it wants in regards to tone and tempo. If you turn out liking this record you are bound to like their new stuff, as I myself may have to check out soon. Until then, I’ll have to pointedly remind myself that the wife exists …

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