Clinic – Walking With Thee

Walking With Thee

Love can change everything, whether it be good or bad. From the critic’s vantage point, when a reviewer loves a certain album so much, it’s hard to tell whether the opinions of each successive album may be skewed because of the undying love for the predecessor. Clinic is just one of the many artists that exemplifies this notion. So for better or worse, this Internal Wrangler-lover is attempting to dissect the follow-up, Walking With Thee.
With an incredibly strong debut album and a slew of EPs under Clinic’s belt, the anticipation for follow-up, Walking With Thee, undoubtedly met with high expectations. Although Clinic’s newest proclamation may be less infectious and distinguishable than its predecessor, the album still meets most expectations and chucks in a few unexpected treats of its own.
Most of the songs can trace back to any given song off Internal; and there’s no denying the obvious “Pop Goes the Weasel” influence rubbed off (ripped off) on album closer, “For the Wars.” But Walking With Thee discerns itself from their older catalog and children songs by augmenting their surf-meets-Krautrock-meets-punk-meets-garage-rock with an eerie ambience, evident on opening track “Harmony” and throughout most of the album.
The chord progressions deployed on Walking With Thee are more surprising and creative than on Internal Wrangler, which in turn results in the strangest of melodies. It requires a good amount of spins before the chords and melodies effectively carve holes in your brain.
The album’s only tangent is short-lived with the electrically-charged “Pet Eunoch,” while the rest of the songs sport Clinic’s familiar hypnotic rhythms and instrumentation created by synthetic beats, keyboards, twangy guitars, organs, horns, and Ade Blackburn’s unique vocal flair. Though the tangents on Internal are oddly placed and are more-often-than-not just down-right strange, they add tremendous amounts of personality and variety, characteristics that are absent on Walking.
Though cohesive and consistent throughout, Walking With Thee comes off a bit tamer. It still manages to sound somewhat experimental, coasting on interesting rhythmic patterns and creative time signatures rather than flashy studio flatulence, but it sounds like Clinic is being indecisive in which way it want its music to go. But I’m willing to bet that Clinic has a plan or two up its sleeves, it’s just waiting to catch us sleeping.