Free Reign (Uk)


aec.dmno0202952.2 11/12/12 New
$15.29 $17.99

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    Free Reign (Uk) Domino
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Review Text Though Clinic have made subtle yet noticeable changes to their sound on every album, the foundations of their music are so consistent -- chugging rhythms, an air of mystery -- that they get a somewhat unfair reputation for being samey. While nothing may change that reputation this far into their career, Free Reign offers more proof that they can take their fundamentals in any direction they choose. Where their last album, Bubblegum, touched on virtually every kind of song they've attempted and gave it all a pop twist, on Free Reign they hone in with nine lengthy excursions into their psychedelic side. Psychedelic in the broadest sense of the term, that is, with expansive, stream-of-consciousness songs that let Clinic explore several ideas over the course of a track. The album opener "Misty" spans darkly shimmering keyboards, a surfy guitar line, and a passage that suggests what Echo & the Bunnymen might have sounded like had they preferred organ to guitars, all without sounding forced or jumbled. Throughout Free Reign, the band revels in unabashedly trippy sounds, whether it's "See Saw"'s churning acid rock -- marking one of the few times the album's pulse rises above a mellow groove -- or "Cosmic Radiation"'s jazzy drum work and dubby basslines. The band's newfound expansiveness not only gives the album a dream-like flow, it also emphasizes Clinic's overlooked romantic/sensual side, from "For the Season"'s warmth and vulnerability to the hypnotic insistence of mantra-like lyrics such as "the touch of your skin/keeps me alive" on the album closer "Sun and the Moon." Ade Blackburn and company recruited Daniel Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never, Ford & Lopatin, and other inventive electronic projects to mix two of Free Reign's most lysergic tracks, and they're both standouts: "Miss You" is a song about salvation through LSD, and its tendril-like bassline pulls listeners into a journey that begins intimately but reaches for infinity by its end; by comparison, "You"'s relentless chug seems almost pedestrian, but its subtle detours and field-recording bookends make it a trip within a trip. Despite the length of each of its tracks, Free Reign is a fairly concise album, which makes it all the better for trance-inducing repeated listening. Another fine example of how versatile this band actually is. ~ Heather Phares

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Misty
  2. 2. See Saw
  3. 3. Seamless Boogie Woogie, BBC2 10 P.M. (RPT)
  4. 4. Cosmic Radiation
  5. 5. Miss You
  6. 6. For the Season
  7. 7. King Kong
  8. 8. You
  9. 9. Sun and the Moon

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