Pin It
Favorite

CD Review 

by Mike Corrigan


For a band boasting such a distinctive sonic signature and such an unorthodox approach to songwriting, for a band initially so daring and hard to categorize, over the course of the last two years Clinic has become strangely conservative. With its 2004 offering, Winchester Cathedral, the giddy adventure of its early EPs and of its manic debut, Internal Wrangler, has been all but replaced by a subtle, vaguely insidious air of moderation and conformity to formula (albeit the Clinic formula). It's as if the group spent its early years in a condition of perpetual freefall, while clutching for a ledge, any ledge, to hold onto -- only to eventually find it. That initial drama produced something great for the listener: thrills galore. Now, watching Clinic out in the relative safety of the ledge feels an adrenaline rush in recession. For the most part, Winchester Cathedral trades in familiar wares. It's the sound of Clinic reminiscing about the good old days of the fall.


That's not to say the new record is sorely lacking or even appreciably inferior to the band's previous work (including last year's terrific Walking With Thee). On its own, in fact, it holds up quite well. And if one were to start here, one would still find one's jaw dropping to the floor while toes tapped involuntarily.


And to be fair, Winchester Cathedral does represent something new for this Liverpool oddity -- namely, a stripping-away of the fleshy instrumental arrangements that characterized their previous work in an effort to get down to the bone and connective tissue. The skeletal framework leaves more room for Ade Blackburn's strangled vocals, although his typically crazed delivery (like a confession given through clenched teeth) is nearly unintelligible, even in the quietest moments.


Meanwhile, old friends return. Clarinet and melodica (the loveliest, creepiest organ you've ever heard) remain front and center as the carriers of melody while electric guitars throb and percussion plays it slinky and primitive. The caverns of icy cool reverb are unspoiled too. These deep dark spaces are the perfect compliment to Blackburn's lyrical subject matter, which seems transfixed on diseases of the mind and spirit.


So play it sinister, play it cool. But please, Clinic, I just can't stand it when you play it safe.





Publication date: 09/23/04
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • A Win for Everyone
  • A Win for Everyone

    The water protectors at Standing Rock achieve an important victory
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • My Dinner with Fidel
  • My Dinner with Fidel

    Looking back nearly 20 years, when three Americans sat down with the Western Hemisphere's most notorious communist
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • 'No' to Sessions
  • 'No' to Sessions

    Trail Mix: Murray opposes AG pick Sessions, McMorris Rodgers' future
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Gaiser Conservatory Holiday Lights

Gaiser Conservatory Holiday Lights @ Manito Park

Through Dec. 18

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Mike Corrigan

  • Lights, Camera, Skate
  • Lights, Camera, Skate

    Two local artists have transformed their love of skateboarding into a new variety show on Community Television.
    • Dec 14, 2011
  • Time Travelers
  • Time Travelers

    For some local store owners, finding intriguing merchandise isn’t just business, it’s an obsession.
    • Nov 22, 2011
  • For Your Consideration
  • For Your Consideration

    A raucous good time from Thee Oh Sees. Plus, vintage horror and a Berlin filmmaker to check out.
    • Nov 22, 2011
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


TRAIL MIX


Comment


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation