The thing in Liverpool – the music scene is sort of close-knit. There’s only a few key venues or clubs really, and so we kind of met through mutual friends, knowing that our tastes were completely different from what was going on around us at the time — the tail-end of the Britpop stuff, Oasis and all those bands. So I think it was inevitable that we were going to meet up and do something musical, just because our views on music were so different from what was going on. [Clinic interview, PrefixMag.com]
Clinic are notable for a) getting their instruments at rummage sales and flea markets, b) the unusual gimmick of wearing surgical masks on stage, and c) touring with Radiohead. An impressive pedigree, or yet another example of indie wierdos getting lucky, but still not making the mainstream? The band claim they sound like nobody else, and listening to the FF entries on offer today might just convince you. On the other hand, the tracks are shot through with that Velvet Underground-style organ, and a kind of psychedelic miasma, backed by those very 60s-sounding vocal ‘oohoohooh’s, that is a definite throwback to indie’s long lost roots. And then again, there’s those thudding drums courtesy of Carl Turney, that provide a primitive yet compelling backdrop to IPC Subeditors Dictate Our Youth (FF 1997 #9). This debut EP came out on the Aladdin’s Cave Of Golf label, and was followed by two more self-financed singles: Cement Mixer (FF 1998 #13), a fast-paced track reminiscent of Stereolab’s French Disko plus neat guitar lines from Hartley, and Monkey On Your Back (FF 1997 #29), the second cousin three times removed of Sister Ray, but given an acidic twist by Ade Blackburn’s vocals.
The Second Line managed to enter the chart twice due to the fact that it was available as a CD maxi-single in 1999 (#20) and then resurfaced on their new label, Domino Records, on the album Internal Wrangler in 2000, consequently making #28 that year. If the shuffling, gently throbbing caravan of sound shattered by stabbing blues harp towards the end is familiar, I’m reliably informed it was used to sell Levi’s Jeans. Now that’s making it.
Clinic recorded no less than eight Peel sessions, and from the last (13/02/2002), I include live versions of Monkey On Your Back and Cement Mixer. This is by way of demonstrating that I really listen to my public: most of the 9 worthy people who have so far voted in my poll (to the right of your screen) want more Peel sessions tracks. If you haven’t voted yet, please do so now!