Clinic, Internal Wrangler

Andrew Perry

By Andrew Perry

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A classic debut of brilliantly singular garage rock.

When I spoke to Clinic's main man, Ade Blackburn, around the time of this quietly psychotic debut album from 2000, his name-dropping was abnormally recherché: hot favorites included Crime, the Californian cop-dressed punks, and doo-wop group the Penguins. In actuality, the ghosts of Phil Spector, the Velvet Underground, the 13th Floor Elevators and Pixies (the unsettling bits that Kurt Cobain left behind) swept variously through the band's spooky sound at the time — "record-collection rock" comes no hipper than Internal Wrangler. Far from lame referencing, though, the lab-coat-wearing Liverpudlian quartet here translated their fanaticism into a brilliantly singular breed of garage rock. In their armory: twangin 'guitar, a '60s Phillips organ sound so thick you could fill your sandwich with it (see "The Second Line"), plus even further-flung relics such as harmonium, harpsichord, pocket clarinet and "psychedelic box," which provides the weird vibrato effect on the title track. Post-Britpop, such invention was just what the doctor ordered.