Clinic: Free Reign II

free reignClinic
Free Reign II
(Domino Recording Co. Ltd.)

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Liverpool rockers Clinic have been making weird, delightfully synthesized music since the ‘90s. For their eighth LP, the band has done something a bit different—revisit last year’s Free Reign to give each song a fresh twist.

For other acts, such an endeavor would come across as a simple remix album. However, this isn’t some vanity project to let famous DJs reinterpret each song separately. Instead, the band allowed experimental musician and producer Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) to fully explore his vision for Free Reign.

The result feels like an album and lets the band delve into psychedelic dub and vintage fuzz. Opener “Sun and Moon II,” for instance, feels like The Doors reincarnated. “Cosmic Radiation II” has an immediate ‘70s jam band feel with distorted guitar, heavy cymbals, and confident horns. “See Saw II” features dizzying instrumentation, plentiful echo, and psychedelically muddled vocals.

But it would be a mistake to just think of Free Reign II as a more distorted version of its predecessor. “King Kong II” is slinky and sexy enough to belong in a club, while “Misty II” has a sparse but hypnotic arrangement to call attention to the repeated line, “You fill your boots and come for more.”

At once feeling new and old, vintage and fresh, Free Reigns II may attract the electronic set while remaining loyal to Clinic’s fanbase. Ultimately, there is no comparison for a band like this, but there is also no limit to the wonderfully strange music they can create (and recreate).

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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