Clinic, Do It!

Andrew Perry

By Andrew Perry

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

For ten years now, Clinic have been chipping away at their own mentally unstable breed of garage psychedelia, oblivious to its relative trendiness at any given time and seemingly even less hassled by any woolly muso notions of “progression.” After four albums and two singles collections, 2008's Do It arrived sounding exactly like they always do — primitive, macabre, ageless. The sense of déjà vu-doo is intentional, even down to the album's sole out-and-out thrasher, "Shopping Bag," arriving at track five, just as it did on 2006's Visitations. Spooky!

Clinic continues to make wonderful, unsettling things happen with their purposefully limited tools.

This Liverpudlian quartet do not, however, eternally retread safe ground, à la Status Quo. Yes, their musical means are limited: on "Corpus Christi," the razor-edged lead guitar follows a dum-dum simple bass line, note for note, just as the 13th Floor Elevators and countless other Nuggets-era bozos prescribed it. They clearly believe in the Julian Cope idea that anything worth doing on a guitar can be achieved with boxing gloves on, while tripping on premium-strength Owsley LSD. It's their aesthetic choice: when I once spoke to their guiding light, Ade Blackburn, he declared that he knew what he liked, and wouldn't go changing any time soon.

However, within their minuscule sliver of the infinite sonic landscape, time and again Clinic make wonderful — and deeply unsettling — things happen. Surrounded by rustling maracas, neo-'60s FX-ed axes and a toffee-thick organ which might as well come with a free lava lamp, Blackburn is a worryingly unfathomable presence. He sings of the sparkling joys of reminiscence ("Memories") and sinister sorcery ("The Witch (Made To Measure)") with the same trembling compulsion. The deeper you get into Do It, the less valuable other styles of music seem. Really, Ade, keep 'em coming, just as you like 'em.