Erin Wolf


By - Jan 1st, 2007 02:52 pm
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For those with a taste for the peculiar in music, Clinic has always been a safe bet. But since their startling introduction with 2000’s Internal Wrangler, Clinic prefer to play as they please, enjoying their own melodica-infused weirdness and keeping things at their initial level with a menacing blend of garage, punk, hip-hop and world music. After the disappointing slide backwards of Winchester Cathedral (2002), Clinic fans may almost dread the arrival of the newest addition to the land of curious and curiouser.

Although Visitations freefalls into the land of the weird, it is a good drop right into the environs of a mental hospital: vocalist Ade Blackburn singing within the confines of a straightjacket, his vocal chords strapped in for the ride, straining at the words with his stifled snarl. Drummer Carl Turney faces a dark corner with his kick-drum pounding out a steady beat, much like a forgotten and bored toddler pounds the bars of his crib.

Visitations is thick with references to farming and harvesting – not in a joyful, abundant sense – but calling to mind images of the grim reaper swinging through town. “Harvest (Within You)” advises citizens to “batten down and button up.” In “Children of Kellogg,” the intensity of a one-two fever beat segues into a dreamy clarinet waltz, with the sound of a saw working away at lord knows what in the background.

The album displays a strained ferocity, drifting in and out of its bi-polarity to slow down with “Visitations” and “Paradise,” only to snap its jaws with “Family” and “Tusk,” sweating out the meds and nightmares. Although undeniably unsettling in sound, Visitations instigates a need to hit the dance floor, recalling Clinic’s dance and hip-hop foundations and rolling fluidly from one song to the next, incorporating the brashness of punk and adding Eastern elements such as finger cymbals. It’s an album full of hidden moments, built into their strange supports that will satisfy the Clinic fan who likes them to be nothing short of comfortably bizarre. VS

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