Clinic: Winchester Cathedral

Remember when you were ten years old and you'd go over to your friend's house to watch violent slasher flicks with haunting musical scores? Oh, oh you didn't do that? I see. Well, for those of you that were just as weird as me back then, you're probably already reminiscing about the first time you saw George Romeo's Dawn of the Dead or Roger Corman's Bucket of Blood. Trust me, this album is very fitting of such a reference.

Winchester Cathedral is the third full length from Liverpool, England's resident surgical-mask-and-scrubs-donning quartet, which features an evocative array of instruments. The album's first track, 'Country Mile' opens with a lingering heart monitor which gives way to eerie chimes and a persistent drum beat guaranteed to make you question if it's your heart beating out of control. Without any delay, 'Circle of Fift' kicks in with a pounding piano line full of fervor you'd expect from Clinic. The danceable song 'The Magician' features a driving beat and, for lack of better words, a coked up cabaret clarinet progression. 'August' plays like a Middle Eastern belly dance tune, except for all the bare midriffs. The track features strange maraca shakes coupled with evocative tambourine and driving piano.

Yes, I think it's only fair to say that I liked Winchester Cathedral immediately. Considering how much I am wary of British music (though mostly good, it almost always seems to borrow too much from Radiohead), that is quite an accomplishment. The album is fresh and engaging, as it sticks closely to Clinic's proven formula: wiry post-punk guitars, Suicide-esqe analog keyboards and a depressing vocal styling. Still the band throws an unexpected curveball with this amazing album.

Andy Heater

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