Clinic

Visitations (Domino)

Disenchanted Clinic fans may think Revisitation is a better title for the Liverpool band's fourth album. Accusations of sonic repetition increased following 2004's Winchester Cathedral, and they'll surely continue apace with Visitations' release.

While there's truth to these claims, Clinic's reliance on a few essential tricks isn't a negative thing. Instantly identifiable via Ade Blackburn's verge-of-nervous-breakdown vocals and eerily swooping melodica motifs, Clinic's songs typically make their points in under four minutes, with piquant incisiveness and dramatic verve. The key to Clinic's listenability is that its four members have great musical influences (Suicide, Augustus Pablo, Velvet Underground, Captain Beefheart's Magic Band, John Barry, malevolent strains of surf and garage rock), which they proceed to alchemize into a distinctive sound. So even if Visitations' forms don't differ much from past albums', the band's youthful fire makes a welcome comeback, recalling the more strident and vigorous attack of 2002's Internal Wrangler. In fact, the feral “Tusk” and “Children of Kellogg” blast harder than Clinic's past efforts.

Clinic albums are like those slightly out-of-the-way restaurants you frequent monthly to get that one dish that perfectly hits the spot every time. There's no shame in providing that sort of reliable service. — Dave Segal

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