Clinic – Bubblegum

January 01, 1970





Play Bubblegum on shuffle, and the first
track to pop up might sound just like Clinic. “Lion Tamer” and
“Orangutan” continue the spare, pumping sound of Internal Wrangler and Walking
With Thee
, which channeled mid-’60s garage-rock, late-’70s post-punk and
the moodier side of synth-pop. But the Liverpool
quartet’s sixth album is its change-of-pace gambit, and most of its songs are
heavy — or light — on acoustic guitar, dulcimer, tuned percussion and even
the occasional string section. Such almost-frothy tunes as “I’m
Aware” suggest that the album might have been titled Cotton Candy.


from the recitative “Radiostory,” which is kind of a bore, most of
the 13 selections work reasonably well. But the masked men haven’t retooled
their songwriting to suit their new studio style, so the lesser numbers lack
sufficient melody to fill out their arrangements. The band’s songs have always
been samey, but that didn’t matter so much when they had more momentum. Now
that the tunes are more inclined to float, tiptoe or coo, their lack of range
is more problematic.


is never going to be the 1910 Fruitgum Co., if only because since Ade
Blackburn’s vocals add a dark tint to even the brightest material. But at its
best, Bubblegum stretches without
losing the band’s distinctive intensity. “Evelyn,” for example,
integrates marimba-like tones into a groove that struts like old times. The
result is not exactly “Yummy Yummy Yummy,” but it achieves a sweet
balance between expected drive and unprecedented bounce.


DOWNLOAD: “”I’m Aware,”
“Evelyn” <a href=””>MARK


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