- Audio CD (1 Jan. 2001)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Domino Records
- ASIN: B00004RJL5
- Other Editions: Audio CD | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,652 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Internal Wrangler CD
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'Internal Wrangler' a definite must-have
Long before weird and money-making hybrids of indie-pop identified, won and lost the genre any guts and credibility, there were bands who were reasonably successful, thank you very much, making music where ideas either kind of worked or kind or failed, but were tried out nonetheless. So, it's always good for the soul when you hear a band who don't have both eyes on the bank balance. When you hear someone 'go at it' with sparks, ingenuity or attitude. Or, very occasionally, all three. As Clinic do. Not everyone's going to like them. If watching means being able to do huge dances and really get plastically hammed-up, forget it. If listening to music is only worth it if you're looking for heroics, go elsewhere. Clinic stick with genre-surfing, keyboard sounds tested by lunatics, echoey production values and odd song titles. All of which means that they'll probably never hit it 'big' and will probably be a butt of the 'indie' tag for ever. They've been compared to Suicide; though they're not quite as one dimensional; and The Fall, but then who hasn't? The title track of the recent 'Internal Wrangler' album has more than a hint of The Thirteenth Floor Elevators. They used to dress up in Sergeant Pepper suits and medical masks. More recently, they just bash it out, as anonymously and as brilliantly as any act around. Their recorded work sticks to the themes mentioned above and gives them a distinctive style. One album and four or five singles in, and there's plenty there for 'fans' to start sinking their choppers into. Clinic seen to have hunches that pay off. Voodoo Wop, the first track on the recently released Internal Wrangler album is a film soundtrack workout, with bongos and a tripping, slightly jazzy bass line. They do off-kilter punk noise, most noticeably on C.Q., and aficionados of mad organs on an electro-relentless beat should go crazy for 2/4. All Clinic songs have got that elusive 'pop' with bite quality which dozens of their counterparts aim at, but usually don't quite get. The Second Line, for example, starts like a home-made sixties guitar hook which almost descends into pub rock, but brilliantly chugs over any mediocrity with a few nifty changes of pace, breaks and a finale brilliantly executed on some kind of zapped out mouth organ. 2nd Foot Stomp is a loopy driven doo-wop style assault, laced and aced with mucky keyboards and crazy 'doo-doo-doo' backing vocals. There's enough invention and energy on Internal Wrangler to sustain a whole career (there are slow songs, sea noises, weird Beethoven dance tracks and church organs to name a few). A definite must-have. And, inexplicably, only half an hour long. If you're up for seeing a band who have no twisty glam pretensions or annoying quirks and gimmicks, try and see them. Immediately. If not, there's always the weekly production line bands who still want to sound like The Smiths or The Stone Roses.
From a seedy underworld of gothic malevolence and bad voodoo comes this, Clinic's long-awaited debut album. On Internal Wrangler, these four serious young conceptual post-punkers pull on their emergency-room overalls and go about dissecting the dark underbelly of rock history with a scalpel, sewing it back together in unique malformations. There's knowing references to the smack-addled chug of Velvet Underground's "White Light / White Heat", the acerbic eclecticism of the Beatles' White Album and even a dark, serious nod to Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire" on the creaking workout of "TK". But really, Internal Wrangler sounds like nothing else past or present--a 30-minute death-rattle of caustic, shrieking garage-punk, interspersed with murky funeral interludes and malevolent post-folk nursery rhymes--even a song called "Hippy Death Suite". Surely, this is a band to kill for. --Louis Pattison
Top customer reviews
It's statement is smooth anger and despondent glee. Clinic have forged something adventurous and darkly entertaining; starting with the execution-worthy political incorrectness of 'Voodoo Wop', through the demented psycho-billy (literally) 'Return of Evil Bill', past the Dalek control-panel of the title-track and then....oh come on, you didn't think it would be that easy!?
What I will reveal is that 'IW' (and that has to be deliberate - I refuse to believe otherwise) is some kind of hippopotamus-insane electro rockabilly, with smatterings of funk and industrial. It hints at spiralling menace but tempers it with a camp yokel vocal, rather like 'Deliverance' set aboard the Enterprise. A stack-synth instead of a banjo, a drum-machine instead of a musket.
In other words, it doesn't quite bite, even though it snaps its teeth often, and near.
'IW' discloses it's secrets to it's lucky listeners, without leaving ANY clues. Clinic being yet another group I know absolutely nothing about, and yet more who have virtually blank sleeves. No bio for Clinic - I don't think we'd like what we read...I think they drink moonshine and eat vermin, kill 'gators for clothing and warmth, burn fish for salt-ash..
There nothing to which Clinic wont stoop, no degeneracy too vile...
Still, onwards and upwards eh? 'Internal Wrangler', beefed up by the crick and all that, is a perfect role-model for them kids...
The best thing about Internal Wrangler is its length, or rather lack of length. Full marks to Clinic for keeping it concise, and (nearly) full marks for an excellent array of mind-altering songs. The Velvet Underground are obviously a major influence (Distortions steals the opening lines of Candy Says, while 2/4 crams White Light / White Heat into a couple of minutes-worth of madness), but elsewhere you can hear snatches of Stereolab, Monks, Phil Spector, rockabilly, punk, country...in fact, name a musical genre and there's a fair chance it's in here. Internal Wrangler also contains 2000's best song title, the fantastic Hippy Death Suite.
A genuinely unique band, and hopefully one to treasure for a long time to come.
This is their debut album and in the space of 31 minutes they pack more ideas than most bands use in a career and tear music up in the toybox of their minds and put it back together again.
Keyboards and melodica are to the fore but the real star is the vocals. Ade Blackurn's delivery is a truly unique weapon of rock n roll.
After heavy rotation through 2013 I now believe that this could be the best debut album ever made, beaten only by Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures. This album is exceptional.
"Voodoo Wop" sets the ball running with evil percussion and queasy keyboards that calms down into a sangria-by-the-beach swell. Merely into music it sets Clinic's stall. Weird and unsettling and funny all in one go.
"The Return Of Evil Bill" punishing, grinding, quisling, garrulous. The first sense we have of Ade Blackburn's sinister nonsense speak ('Self help for the farm'?. 'The billboard wars'?). Pushed along at a pace that isn't natural (apart from when it slows to a nursery rhyme falter).
'Internal Wrangler' sounds vaguely garage rock, like Inspiral Carpets with indigestion, except of course that Clinic don't sound like Inspiral Carpets, or anyone. Parping and stinging, surf meets garage meets the Joe 90 theme.
"DJ Shangri La" another mood piece as funeral keys meet squalling seagulls.
"The Second Line", plodding bass underpins amazingly nonsensical lyrics with a "tssked" backing harmony and a breathless boy band backing harmony. Despite all this the songs is fantastically catchy that makes you want to sing along! There is a wonderful child like joy about this song.
"CQ" is fast and stuttering that sounds like a punk reduction that Wire only dreamt about.
"TK" sees another keyboards heavy song.
"Earth Angel" is the first sight of slower Clinic with teasing, cajoling vocals ('Martha the snitch'?) backed by minimal instrumentation and lapping ocean sounds. A haunting, creepy ballad about... something.
"Distortion" continues the slower, tender theme as slow caressing keys and luscious bass weave around Ade's reptilian croon. I love the lyrics of this song, the mystery of working out the puzzle of what it means. 'I want to know my body / I want this out not in me' what on Earth does this mean? Personally I think it's along the lines of Gang Of Four's 'Anthrax', seeing love as a disease? Or a hymn to self loathing? It is simply one of the most affecting lyrics ever committed and the entire thing is sung with such skill, encompassing fear, fright, love and pleading to be a world of complexity and confusion.
"Hippy Death Suite" does what it says on the tin as the pace is ramped up to a blitzkrieg as surf guitar goes nuclear.
"2nd Foot Stomp" another catchy pop hit (from the planet ruled by Brian Eno that is) with a breathless melody
"39905" sees a dirtier tone backed by bass drum.
"Goodnight Georgie" is a gorgeous lullaby.
Dazzlingly inventive. constantly surprising, sporadically childlike, occasionally threatening.
Only in listening to it now have I noticed the heavy use of Beach Boys style vocal harmonies. I think this is what lends the album it's childlike joy. There is a sense of exploration here and the thrill of hearing music unlike anything you have ever heard is enervating.
Another thing that struck me how minimal is the instruments are on many songs but you only notice if you actually examine the component parts. The vocals carry much of the work, with the songs taking shape around the meaningless words.
Half kids show theme tunes and half music from horror movies, half gorgeous, half sinister. Profoundly weird, disturbing, fun, avant garde, catchy, silly, aggressive, accessible, an acquired taste. Clinic are ridiculous. Clinic are genius. Clinic deserve medals. Clinic need help. Clinic should pack arenas. Clinic should be sectioned.
A phenomenal debut album.
You will not be disappointed with purchasing this album, that is for certain.