Clinic’s first album in seven years consolidates the band’s wandering psychedelic appetite

A fantastic album that makes up for the band's questionable facade.

Words by Dan Watt

For the past 19 years, UK band Clinic have consistently produced concise and compelling psychedelic rock. For a genre whose main ingredient is otherness, Clinic seem to have defied the constantly expanding scope suffered by many of their psych contemporaries by maintaining a system that, even after eight albums, has not become formulaic.

The opening track ‘Laughing Cavalier’ is thick, seedy and consuming as the band’s signature fuzzed out guitars – think T Rex or Garry Glitter – are driven inexorably by a post punk rhythm. When joined by Ade Blackburn’s druggy as fuck vocal steez, the listener is veritably ‘stoned’.

So why have Clinic consistently sat on the periphery of the alternative rock scene for 20 years and eight incredible albums? Because they are so fucking English and thus not cool. In all their press shots and when they play live, the band wear surgical scrubs which was kitschy when they first started but now it is just lame. And despite the timeless and ethereal ambiguity of their music, they do dumb things like naming their album Wheeltappers & Shunters. “This unusual name is taken from the long-forgotten 1970s ITV variety show,” – like anyone gives a fuck?

For a band that conjures a powerful distinctiveness, Clinic are burdened by mundane aesthetics.