Clinic - Bubblegum

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Clinic
Bubblegum
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If only consistency counted for everything, then Liverpudlian post-punkers Clinic, who possess the quality in spades, would most certainly be as they say, rolling in dough. All the correct factors are there: hot shot debut (Internal Wrangler) not as stellar, albeit more accessible follow-ups coupled with an intriguing stage presence (occasionally hospital scrubs; masks included) that has since culminated into a respectable career with quite the cult following. Helps when you churn out five records of quality psychedelia tinged guitar rock--three being most excellent--over a reasonably short period of time (seven years). Even if since that auspicious debut their quick pacing has slowed, the weird cord progressions tamed and their use of vintage keyboards is less unique, Clinic still continue to argue their validity with sixth album Bubblegum. And while the record may not catch as many new ears as Wrangler or sophomore effort Walking With Thee, if you are already a Clinical Subscriber, Bubblegum should just help reaffirm that support.

Unlike 2008’s criminally overlooked Do It! this record finds the band playing a much softer, slower and ultimately easier form of fuzzy guitar-pop that routinely borders on wacky but usually is just dependable. Granted when Bubblegum hits (“Milk And Honey,” “Another Way Of Giving” & “Freemason Waltz”) it’s a particularly vivacious mix of distorted guitars, strangely clean vocals, folk melodies, classic psychedelia and chamber pop. One that not only is an interesting turn for the band, but is almost the peak of that anti-sound they were seemingly striving for. Now the rest of the record may be struggling to follow suit, Clinic still has not found a way to perfectly balance these inclinations towards the subdued, but Bubblegum is without a doubt a step in the right direction. Their inclusion of strings, new-found appreciation for the acoustic guitar along with every bell and whistle in arm’s reach help the record stand out in their repertoire. Doesn’t hurt that the music is pretty good too.

Even if now a Clinic record is like a strange take on late sixties art-pop as opposed to a raucous, key-heavy, post-punk explosion--Bubblegum is still bewilderingly appealing. Its forty minutes pass by so quickly, infectious closer “Orangutan” fades out into acoustic strums so abruptly it is almost depressing. Leaving you with a sense of want is certainly not a drawback, Bubblegum’s issue though, is that you barely remember anything else that happened beforehand. Thankfully the lasting effect is usually strong enough to keep you coming back for more as Clinic continue to prove they really don’t make bad records. You just may not be able to wax-poetic on Bubblegum and all of its merits.

1. I'm Aware
2. Bubblegum
3. Baby
4. Lion Tamer
5. Linda
6. Milk And Honey
7. Radiostory
8. Forever (Demis' Blues)
9. Another Way Of Giving
10. Evelyn
11. Un Astronauta En Cielo
12. Freemason Waltz
13. Orangutan

Post-punk/psychedelic rock band from Liverpool. Initially known for their use of vintage instruments, strange chord progressions and tendency to don hospital scrubs and operating masks while performing.

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