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Clinic: Free Reign

Domino

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Dim the lights and don your finest vest because Liverpool art-punks Clinic really dive into the wormhole with their latest, emerging in mid-'60s San Francisco. After going Bubblegum with its previous album, literally and figuratively, the group returns to its roots with Free Reign. The album's spooky brilliance suggests an acid trip through a candlelit mansion bursting with weird, mesmerizing nooks cloaked in ephemeral ambient menace: They range from the drugged Hammond sway of "Seamless Boogie Woogie BBC2 10pm (rpt)," channeling Jim Morrison circa "The End," to the peaking beatnik jazz psychedelia of "Cosmic Radiation." The swirling garage claustrophobia of "See Saw" paints Jefferson Airplane with Blue Cheer on a spy movie back lot. It's a steamy, keenly crafted, and slightly drug-addled thrill ride. (5 out of 5 stars)

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