It was only about 9 months ago that I heard the album Internal Wrangler by Clinic, and for reasons outlined in that review, it hooked me. There's nothing particularly new about the group and they're definitely not about fluffing up their songs, but the short, volatile release was one of the best debuts that I'd heard in awhile.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I found out that the group actually had another album that I could get my dirty little mits on. Although it's technically an album, it's more of a compilation of sorts, as it compiles the first 3 EPs (of three songs each) by the group into another short (clocking in at about 25 minutes) effort of 9 tracks. After listening to it side by side with their newer release, one of the most difficult choices now facing me is deciding which album I actually enjoy more. Both have slower tracks as well as art-punk outbursts, and although they're pretty similar in style, they both have a slight oomph that sets them apart from one another.
Even though the release is comprised of 3 different EPs, it's actually surprisingly cohesive. Each of the three segments has at least one track that rips off the rails while offsetting it with a couple different. The disc opens with some dirty organ riffs and driving rhythm section of the nicely titled and slightly jabbing "I.P.C. Subeditors Dictate Our Youth" before the album mellows out on the second track "Porno" (and lead singer Ade Blackburn moans in glee for the chorus). True to form, the group then kicks it up a notch with another of their initial titled tracks called "D.P." and the group channels a Japanese freakout punk band.
And that's really how the rest of the tracks sort of play out. You get a slick mid-tempo track with "Monkey On Your Back" before they again go on a tear with "D.T." (quite possibly my favorite of all their blistering punk-skronk rock tracks). They even follow that up with the introduction of their ongoing character from Internal Wrangler on "Evil Bill." Lyrics are again almost indecipherable in nearly all the tracks, but as the band stated in a recent review, it's part of the point of the listener to come up with their own interpretation. They provide the musical backbone and you figure out the rest, which is fine by me. All I know is that when I feel like putting in an album to sing along with (even if I just have to make up the words and play along), either of these recent releases by Clinic will do the trick. They're not changing the face of rock and roll, but by taking off some of the sheen and getting back to the basics, they've still managed to create something new and exciting. Who wants a third helping? I do.