Clinic – Winchester Cathedral

Clinic are as far removed as you could imagine from the recent Liverpudlian explosion of breakthrough bands like the Coral and The Zutons. In fact this band are such an oddity that classification is futile. Despite being complimented by Radiohead (who they also supported) and championed by talk show legend David Letterman commercial success has evaded Ade Blackburn, Brian Campbell, Harltly and Carl Turney. One of their songs was featured in the recent independent film Lauren Canyon, which was a critique in part on the LA Music Scene. “Winchester Cathedral” is the follow up to their well-received “Walking With Thee” album.

“Circle Of Fifths” has piano, clarinet and that mumbled, nasal, incomprehensible voice which to me is a major annoyance. Musically it sounds like a sixth form band that are attempting to be cutting edge and off the wall. Unusual, but quite upbeat, this has everything but the kitchen sink thrown in with guitars and percussion all over the place, seemingly playing different tunes simultaneously. “Vertical Take Off In Egypt” is more low key, stripped down with a sinister feel that’s hard to convey. The cymbals clash, the drums are prominent with a haunting melody enabled by the use of the melodica.

“W.D.Y.Y.B” is much more immediate with rock guitars and unusually for Clinic is free from pretension. I could imagine John Peel playing this with it’s frantic pace and it could establish Clinic in the minds of the mosher fraternity. “Thank You (For Living)” has a repetitive guitar part, heavy bass and mouth organ and is typically Clinic. Slightly bluesy with the semblance of a tune this would be a great song if it wasn’t for the pitiful vocals. The synths by the way are a knockout.

“Winchester Cathedral” is even less coherent than it’s predecessor and although it’s not a total write off it is a disappointment that Clinic lack focus to be a truly innovative band for the 21st Century.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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