Clinic, Free Reign

Andrew Parks

By Andrew Parks

on 11.13.12 in Reviews
A dead-eyed journey down a rabbit hold that never seems to end

When Clinic first burst onto the midstream rock scene with Internal Wrangler and Walking with Thee sporting surgical masks, they looked like a bloodthirsty gang of Dr. Giggles understudies who’d formed a garage band. Now seven albums and nearly 15 years into a career that never quite caught fire here in the States, the main constant in Clinic’s sound is their love of melancholic melodicas and cobweb-encrusted organs. So while the Liverpool-based quartet still slip their surgical masks on every night, their trend-skirting brand of psych-pop revivalism got decidedly slower on their last LP (2010′s aptly-titled Bubblegum) and considerably looser this time around. Free Reign is just that – a dead-eyed journey down a rabbit hole that never seems to end. Which means that, yes, three of these songs actually pass the five-minute mark, and the rest of the record is just as richly woven with steam-pressed synths and Kraut-rock-y rhythms, as co-mixed by Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never). No wonder why its lead single (“Miss You”) has a video that looks like a late-’90s screen saver.