Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Clinic

  • Internal Wrangler [Domino, 2001] ***
  • Walking With Thee [Domino, 2002] *
  • Winchester Cathedral [Domino, 2004] A-
  • Visitations [Domino, 2007] A-
  • Do It! [Domino, 2008] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Internal Wrangler [Domino, 2001]
fun with indie-rock, good--only their idea of fun is so inarticulate ("T.K.," "C.Q.") ***

Walking With Thee [Domino, 2002]
if not clinical, definitely formal ("Pet Eunoch," "Welcome") *

Winchester Cathedral [Domino, 2004]
Decried for the sin of repeating themselves by those who once discerned the face of the Blessed Virgin in their surgical masks, these minor formalists find their calling. Really, children, they were never punky enough for fast-short-hard. Here, their structures adamantly circular and their tunes less catchy but more durable, they make dandy mystagogues on an album that begins inarticulate and attains the nirvana of total nonverbality. A-

Visitations [Domino, 2007]
Though you'd never know it from the weary complaints of Alternian ADD victims, Clinic's albums don't all sound the same. They do sound similar--Clinic are minimalists. But like most minimalists, they try out new effects, and especially for those put off by Ade Blackburn's lockjaw, the variations in texture and rhythm here add jam to a garage-punk revival that's more solid than the Strokes'. I still prefer 2004's disreputable Winchester Cathedral. But this is a proper guitar fix nevertheless. A-

Do It! [Domino, 2008]
If their impassive fury was getting old, I wouldn't still wish I understood their lyrics ("Winged Wheel," "Shopping Bag"). **