Release Date: Aug 24, 2004
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Forget the surgical stagewear and stamp of approval from Radiohead - Clinic's art-school rock has had a melodic makeover. Though the songs are still Lou Reed-shaped and John Cale-fashioned, this follow-up to the Grammy-nominated Walking With Thee sees the scouse experimentalists embracing a jagged kind of pop. The result is like listening to an agitated Peter Lorre sharing his frustration with 13-era Blur.
There's a fine line between expression within a style of music and just playing it by number, and this problem is compounded when a band or artist crafts an especially distinctive sound. Just how long does it take until they cross that line? In Clinic's case, it took a slew of fascinating singles and three albums of diminishing returns before their mix of garage, punk, dub, and pop started to sound stale. In all fairness, the band's limitations were beginning to show on Walking With Thee, but the fact that Winchester Cathedral comes two and a half years after that album -- and was described initially as "a marked shift from Walking With Thee's darker character" -- makes it all the more disappointing that this is, overall, the least inspired work of Clinic's career to date.