Clinic – 'Free Reign' album review

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  • Clinic – 'Free Reign'

    Rating: 3/5

    By James Manning
    Clinic are fond of wearing surgical masks and scrubs. Don’t be fooled: they’re not medical professionals, and any drugs prescribed to go with their music are unlikely to have any health-giving benefits. Over 15 years and six albums the mysterious, Liverpool-based band became specialists in unsettling psychedelia. Seventh time around they’re still dealing in disconcerting tunes. ‘Seamless Boogie Woogie BBC2 10pm (rpt)’ recalls the heavy synths of John Foxx rather than the snooze-jazz of Jools Holland, ‘Misty’ (with an organ line quoting ‘Riders on the Storm’) pushes The Cure through the doors of perception, while ‘You’ brings to mind the haziness of Spacemen 3. ‘Free Reign’ is more sedative than stimulant, showing how the arcane energy of early Clinic singles has been suppressed: now the melodies lurk behind a tripped-out smokescreen of synths and processed guitars. All of which makes for an eerie, enjoyable and far from clinical trip.