Clinic, 'Bubblegum' (Domino)

Critical Mass
Release Date: October 5, 2010
Label: Domino

by Josh Modell

The title of Clinic's sixth album cheekily nods to the surgical-masked Brits' current, revamped sound--a softer spin on indie pop with their usual gritty agitation almost completely scrubbed away. Songs such as the gorgeous "Freemason Waltz" and keening, melancholic "Another Way of Giving" imagine an alternate-universe sock hop, led by a stripped-down and Anglicized Sigur Rós. Only "Lion Tamer" and "Orangutan" recall the more desperate density of Clinic's high point, 2000 debut full-length Internal Wrangler. But since the band's major fault has been sonic stasis, it's nice to see them change the pace, even if it means easing back.

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