Album Review



by Clinic

6.5 / 10
5th October 2010

Reviewed by Matt Williamson

Clinic have always been somewhat of a one-trick pony. Don't get me wrong, it's an impressive trick and one that has produced some great albums, but pretty singular nonetheless. Starting with 2000's Internal Wrangler the Liverpool art-damaged group put out a series of albums that basically repeated the success of the debut with some mixed results. This is why it's nice to see the band steer away from their earlier format and shift on to something that, dare I say, comes across as a more mature effort. Don't worry, they haven't dropped their signature surgical mask's and donned turtle-necks and boat shoes, but they do seem to have slowed down a notch.

Starting with opener “I'm Aware” Bubblegum is an album of breezy, psych-lite numbers which plods as much as it challenges. As a casual listen this is pretty easy stuff, but with a little more attention things start to show themselves. Tracks like “Evelyn” and the excellent “Lion Tamer” shed the surface sugar and pump up the volume, touching on the bands earlier records. As with most Clinic efforts there are duds to be found. The wah-wah loving “Baby” is confused and annoying while “Un Astronauta En Cielo” finally plays into the Radiohead tag the band has been dogged by for years.

As with every release there are a couple of instant classics here. Closer “Orangutan” with it's creepy whispered backing vocals and stabs of distortion is as strong a song as the band have in their canon, and “Linda” is as close as you'll come to an out n' out love song from these guys – definitely one for your next mix tape. If you take the time to really listen, Bubblegum shows itself as a finely put together album that hints at something completely new for the band. But if you're looking for the voodoo-weirdness and skronky garage that Clinic have made their bread and butter, this might not be your album.

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