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Bubblegum - Domino
FILTER Grade: 82%

By Bernardo Rondeau on September 6, 2010



It’s hard to believe Clinic is up to its sixth album. An improbable 2000s sleeper hit, the masked quartet from Liverpool—fond of jumble-sale instrumentation and pop-minded restraint—is entering its second decade with well-earned calm. Bubblegum wafts open with “I’m Aware,” a swirl of wah-wah coils, chiming twelve-string guitars and cooing, wordless backing vocals. Clinic sounds far from the garage and closer to the amphitheater. In places, the album seems nearer to the cinematic swoon of Tindersticks than the usual curt jangle, like on spoken-word interlude “Radiostory” and the strings-laden sweep of “Milk & Honey.” But there’s still evidence of shut-in, anxious energy: Albini-toned drums pound behind the title track, holding together its seesawing swells of scraped guitar and crybaby spirals, while “Evelyn” is all tingly tremolo and strobe-chopped melody. The spigot of bristling electricity may be turned down and the taut pacing given some slack, but singer Ade Blackburn’s slurred delivery remains intact: a clenched, gasping brogue that usually sounds like it’s tersely spelling out a ransom delivery. 

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