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Clinic: Free Reign (Domino)


Free Reign


If there's a theme on Clinic's seventh album – a point by which most bands have amassed enough kit and delusions of grandeur to fuel multiple overdubs – it's economy. Melodically, harmonically, sonically, orchestrally: it's as if the Liverpool quartet are peeling away the layers of their distinctively analogue psych-rock character to see what's at the core. Happily, there's a trove of spectral treasures to be explored at the heart of Free Reign: narcotic dub space jams, the metronomic pulse of 1970s Krautrock, bursts of blurred cosmic jazz. The tracks themselves are less song-like in nature – verse, chorus, verse etc ad nauseum – than mantric, accreting gradually and giddily. Still present is the pared-down instrumentation the band's followers will be familiar with: simmering organ, woozy clarinet and melodica, guitars richly treated with tremolo, vintage fuzz and wah-wah. Add swathes of miasmic echo and delay to the mix plus sonic flourishes from Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) and the result is a record so hypnotically out of time as to be freakish, and a prime example of less being so very much more.

Sean Guthrie

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