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Album Review

Clinic's 3 EPs collection showed how evenhandedly the band places its best songs throughout its long and short-form releases — in fact, 3 EPs was so cohesive that it felt like a more logical, if less eclectic, debut album than Internal Wrangler actually was. Funf gathers B-sides from singles spanning Internal Wrangler to Visitations, and since it covers a bigger chunk of time and music than 3 EPs did, its sound is more comprehensive. Though none of Clinic's best-known songs appear here, these tracks define the band's style just as ably. "Nicht" is a fury of mysteriously thrashy guitars and snarled vocals; "The Scythe" is a quintessential chunk of Clinic's spaghetti Western garage rock; and "J.O./Love Is Just a Tool" captures the band's buried, Velvet Undergound-esque din, swallowing the song's hypnotic melody in a cavern of murky reverb. Many of Funf's best moments come from the Internal Wrangler era: "The Majestic" lives up to its name, opening the collection with dramatic guitar stabs, organ, melodian, and a bellowing train whistle that come together in a oddly, brashly romantic way. "The Castle" could almost pass for a very warped, lost nugget of '60s garage, while "Magic Boots" is an extra-spiky burst of Pixie-fied noise punk. Other standouts include "Christmas," a Walking with Thee-era cut that reflects that album's frostbitten eeriness, sounding remarkably twinkly and menacing at the same time, and "Dissolution: The Dream of Bartholomew," a track from Visitations' If You Could Read Your Mind single that dives into tribal rhythms and incantations that reverberate seemingly into space. It's one of the strangest songs Clinic have ever recorded, which is saying something. Funf is missing a few B-sides, but it's still a very entertaining collection that should satisfy all but the most obsessive Clinic fans looking for another fix of the band's addictive weirdness.


Formed: 1997 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Liverpool's art punk four-piece Clinic formed in 1997 out of the ashes of Ade Blackburn and Hartley's previous band, Pure Morning. The duo added Brian Campbell and Carl Turney to the fold and released the thrashy debut single "IPC Sub-Editors Dictate Our Youth" on the group's own Aladdin's Cave of Golf label; it reached number nine in John Peel's Festive 50 singles roundup that year. 1998 saw the release of equally well-received singles like "Cement Mixer" and "Monkey on My Back," which also showcased...
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Funf, Clinic
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