Clinic, the Liverpool noise-rock band released their seventh studio album, Free Reign. Known for their trademark surgical masks, off-kilter vocals, and nonconventional song structure, Clinic decided to release another record that synthesizes their old sound with the modern indie-pop.
On first listen, it’s difficult to miss the influence that modern dream pop has had on Clinic’s sound. It’s important to note that this is not Clinic’s first experimentation with this sound – Bubblegum was the first record to do so. However, this album is not only an amalgamation of the drone-induced pop that permeates today’s indie scene; it is also a showcase for Clinic’s ability to push the envelope.
In the past, Clinic’s form of pushing the envelope usually surfaced as using noise and organs powder their album. On Free Reign, they have opted to minimize the noise and replace it with different instruments. Most notably, the elusive saxophone appears in many tracks. It lends its serpentine, cunning sound to the foundation that Clinic lays; it’s almost like icing on a cake.
Overall, Free Reign is exactly what needs to be seen from Clinic right now. It shows how easily monotonous dream-pop can be changed to express different emotions. Furthermore, it shows that Clinic is still functioning as an astute group of musicians. I can’t even begin to predict where they are going to go, musically, from here.
Written by Ben Chin, Radio K volunteer.