Clinic - Do It!
Helen Newbery 04/05/2008
The title of the new album from Liverpudlians Clinic seems apt: after an incongruous prelude of sitar-like music, the bassline of opener 'Memories' crashes in and stomps around as it if means business. Similarly irresistible is current single 'The Witch (Made To Measure)', with its intense vocals and harmonies allied to another killer bassline. 'Free Not Free' sees a change of pace, although it's perhaps not the best vehicle for Ade Blackburn's nasal vocal style. Possibly an acquired taste, for me at least it adds to their rich and complex sound and makes them just that little bit more interesting.
There are a variety of influences on display: the mouth organ on 'Tomorrow' hints at a woozy Americana, a flavour which pops up again on 'Corpus Christi', although here the whispered title and horns give an almost sinister feel. There are more horns on 'Shopping Bag', an insane riot of sound which sees Blackburn's vocal range extended and a certain Pixies flavour to its twisting tempo changes, before it finally crashes out in a wall of discordance. 'Emotions' has a sleazier, more laid-back lounge feel. 'High Coin' begins with an almost militaristic drumming, which is maintained through the song. Its bassline is reminiscent of the earlier 'Memories' but with darker overtones. Things get even darker with 'Mary & Eddie', which shimmers on the surface but is undercut by a feeling of menace as a foghorn blares. And then all is sweetness and light again with 'Coda', a suitably theatrical and knowing finish to the album, the lyrics hinting at its title: 'Let go of the rail…we're ready upstairs with the winch'
Overall, Do It! feels like a complete album, and the realisation of a band's vision. By turns sombre and playful, but always assured, it combines stomping tunes with a darker edge. After touring with the likes of the Arcade Fire last year, it would be gratifying if Do It! brings Clinic the recognition in their own right that they clearly deserve.