Review Summary: 2nd foot stomp, 3rd foot stomp and 4th, too.
Bands that trade on gimmicks tend to be of a few factions. With bands like the Residents, the members themselves did not want to be identified with the music, they successfully maintained anonymous for a number of years in turn cultivating an iconic style that was both popular, and that their fans adored. Slipknot and Genesis on the other hand wore masks to provoke reactions, be it hostility, humour, or even simply fear of the unknown.
Musicians have forever worn masks, all for their own reasons. But what about Clinic? The retro band that wear surgeon masks and full surgery garb on stage? Their reasons are more playful, and in itself more kitsch, dressing up as surgeons as a quirky play on the band's actual name. And though purposefully or not, the band have managed to link their style of music to their quirky clothing, constantly recalling music of the past, and instead of wallowing in it, bringing it twisted, warped and screaming into the 21st century, truly post-modern music for nihilistic needs.
Internal Wrangler is a master-class in this, music that recalls the heady days of early electronica, krautrock and rhythm heavy 70's funk all mix together in a torridly quick and claustrophobic cauldron, with Clinic bringing it down to Earth finally where it rests.
Each song possesses it's own formula, one that is not contrived but learned from music past, with the bizarre harmonium gifting Clinic their own unique instrument and sound. Throughout vocalist Ade's vocals are serpent like, crawling in and out of the heavy drum beat and the pulsing rhythms, all of which is glued together by the band's ridiculously home made feel.
Songs like The Second Line, Goodnight Georgie, Earth Angel and T.K. all playing more laid-back roles than the stomping Return of Evil Bill, Internal Wrangler and 2nd Foot Stomp. The album may let up pace of individual songs, but in it's brief 30 minutes, it doesn't once fail to capture attention or imagination. With bizarre sound experiments like Voodoo Wop, C.Q and Hippy Death Suite showing the band's true influence to be of punk, Internal Wrangler succeeds where other modern rock bands don't, in ignoring the excesses of rock and pop music, instead concentrating on the weird, wonderful and often extremely funny elements.
Clinic were, and still are one of the best modern rock bands around, and although their path to moderate fame (or rather, critical acceptance) hasn't been so well versed, this is the album where they learnt their skills and cut their teeth, and it is truly exciting to see a band so well honed on it's first release.