#46: Clinic – Monkey On Your Back (1998)
Upon checking release date appended to a somewhat worn record sleeve… as if the drip-fed, pre-millennial lead-in is reflexively characterised in the collective hive mind as the summer of Scouse psychedelia. Not so much upstairs at Eric’s as hanging out the windows, idly regarding the fog creeping up the Mersey from our upside-down vantage point. Look, pretty fog!
When in truth this feels both older and younger than ’98 – and that’s not just a simple allusion to the heavily-retro timbre of the Philicorda, regardless what your ears are telling you when addressing the play button; this music isn’t vintage, or esoteric, or wilfully hipster for its own sake, even if the band did appear live attired in surgical gowns for quite a few years. Clinic arrived specifically like a statement of intent. The début EP goaded the music press, calling it out for the self-obsessed complacent pastiche it had long since become. And then ‘Monkey…’, the lead track on EP2 (like it’s predecessor self-released; it takes cajones to get away with releasing records under the “corporate umbrella” of Aladdin’s Cave Of Golf, and not be viewed as flippant or – worse – chancers).
I remember being very excited by this, even if specifics such as first encounter have faded into background recollection. A dimension of sound aligned specifically to its own agenda, and with Ade Blackburn’s sugar-puff vocal strangely reminiscent of Nico, this is a record that brews conflicting components in such a way that some serious mop and bucket work would have been required – yet as it is, the laughing gas and the Carry On Matron are blended just right.
Clinic / Monkey On Your Back