Guest columnist Matthew Gordon rakes through the new releases and finds Liverpool’s Clinic certainly Do It! Elsewhere there’s mixed results from The Whip, Supergrass, Cadence Weapon, Camille and, er, Jethro Tull.
Clinic: Do It! – Album of the Week
Clinic are back with another furious and hypnotic burst of neo-psych punk-rock.
Forget about urban jungles, Clinic sound like they come from an actual jungle Ã¢ÂÂ donÃ¢ÂÂt ask me whether itÃ¢ÂÂs the Amazon or Papua New Guinea, just anywhere that might have tribal dancing, sympathetic magic and esoteric initiation rites.
The whole album has a suffocating fuzziness, with swirling synth, sax and organ pulsating over the jangly schizophrenic riffs at the centre of almost every track.
Clinic have a unity of sound somehow pieced together from the most eclectic influences. There are some mysterious folk/new-wave ballads Ã¢ÂÂ like Free Not Free and Emotions Ã¢ÂÂ juxtaposed with bizarre and manic art-noise Ã¢ÂÂ like Shopping Bag and The Witch.
Corpus Christi is droning and pulsating indie-rock, and itÃ¢ÂÂs here if anywhere that youÃ¢ÂÂll find the subliminal messages. The last track, Coda, with sinister organ and doom-laden bells, is a church-service for Apocalypse.
IÃ¢ÂÂm sure Clinic are attempting to penetrate our minds, like a cruise missile direct from the Id.
For fans of: Amon Dull II, The Kills, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Jethro Tull: This Was 40th Anniversary Remaster
The re-release of This Was can end the idea that Jethro TullÃ¢ÂÂs choice of band name (as in the 17th-centry agriculturalist) reflected a perennial interest in folk-prog medievalism.
Jethro Tull were still a straight blues band on their debut, and I would even resist calling it blues-rock as itÃ¢ÂÂs a far cry from the furious power-blues that made Led Zep so important.
At times the album does show some edge, similar to the British R&B around at the time. All of it has been crisply and clearly re-mastered, so it probably sounds better than it ever did, but without the late Sixties lo-fi charm.
The famous flute of later days pops up now and again, particularly on the laid-back lounge-jazz of Serenade for a Cuckoo. That leads into the more psychedelic Ã¢ÂÂDharma For OneÃ¢ÂÂ, which has promising hints of Canterbury prog but quickly becomes the obligatory extended drum-solo and nothing else.
The bonus B-sides and BBC sessions are a nice edition, but perhaps like the album as a whole, will only be of interest to Tull completionists.
For fans of: Muddy Waters, the Graham Bond Organisation, Caravan
Supergrass: Diamond Hoo Ha
Supergrass have burst back with a harder blues-rock sound while at the same time trying to recapture the sunshine and silliness of their earliest records.
It works on the eponymous opener, Diamond Hoo Ha Man, a song not really about much but with riffs and beats like The Raconteurs or Kings of Leon.
TheyÃ¢ÂÂve still got the groovy pub rock that made them entertaining and endearing, switching at regular intervals between outright rock nÃ¢ÂÂ roll to cheerful pop-punk, but on the whole there isnÃ¢ÂÂt much variation and nothing new on offer. Each track is more formulaic and derivative than the last.
On tracks like Rebel in You and Rough Knuckles the lyrics have a laddish working-class veneer that doesnÃ¢ÂÂt ring true anymore, at least I would hope that Supergrass donÃ¢ÂÂt spend too much time in stolen cars with schoolgirls.
There are other English clichÃÂ©s too, especially on the whimsical Whiskey and Green Tea, which despite it all has a catchy chorus.
In short – well crafted and well executed, but lacking inspiration.
For fans of: The White Stripes, clinging on to a fading youth
Cadence Weapon: Afterparty Babies
Cadence Weapon has moved away from the garage and grime of his debut, keeping the reliance on synths over samples and going into old-school electro territory.
Once described as the Canadian Dizzee Rascal, heÃ¢ÂÂs now more like Kanye West.
He has a clear and sardonic style of rapping, staying away from the clichÃÂ©s or returning to them with a smile on his face.
Although he goes into some of the usual stuff, like human or material conquests Ã¢ÂÂ particularly on Limited Edition OJ Slammer and Real Estate Ã¢ÂÂ he does it with tongue in cheek.
He talks about modern trends, like text messages and facebook, but it doesnÃ¢ÂÂt quite sound natural from a 22-year-old Ã¢ÂÂ like an older person trying to keep up with the times or a young person trying too hard to be relevant. From his choice of music we can guess that CW isnÃ¢ÂÂt a neo-Luddite.
This is fun and catchy hip-hop that doesnÃ¢ÂÂt want to stick to conventions or even vaguely try to push them, but really doesnÃ¢ÂÂt care about genres or influences.
If you like House or IDM or electronica or anything else, you might easily like Cadence Weapon.
For fans of: Sunday supplement technology guides.
The Whip: X Marks Destination
I donÃ¢ÂÂt know exactly what youÃ¢ÂÂd call The Whip Ã¢ÂÂ dance-punk, new rave, electro-clash, whatever.
They have all the usual hallmarks Ã¢ÂÂ tribal-beats, distorted vocals, synthesised riffs, coming from Manchester Ã¢ÂÂ but to me this just sounds like generic electro-pop.
On tracks such as Save My Soul and Fire I imagine that the religious imagery peppered about is supposed to put them in the tradition of existential Depeche Mode lyrics, but thereÃ¢ÂÂs no subtly or intelligence to pull it off.
The harder edge of certain tracks make them sound like a clichÃÂ©d Nine Inch Nails Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂI wanna be trash / I wanna be trashÃ¢Â? on the opening track Ã¢ÂÂ while the irritating, distorted vocals ruin their attempts at accessible pop.
The fairest comparison is to a band like Bodyrockers, rather than Daft Punk or LCD Soundsystem, and any comparison to old Manchester bands is completely unfounded.
For fans of: Tracks on the opening montage of Hollyoaks
Camille: Music Hole
CamilleÃ¢ÂÂs almost unclassifiable new album opens with a soulful track Gospel With No Lord, which goes back to the long tradition of French iconoclasm and like the title suggests, puts her inspiration down to family and friends rather than God. Anyone who says otherwise Ã¢ÂÂ off with their heads!
Of course the album title refers to the mouth, which features prominently on this record, with plenty of scatting, vocal loops and silly sounds.
The songs are melodic and soulful, but playful and ironic. Camille can make fun of Mariah Carey or pet animals Ã¢ÂÂ in Money Note and Cats and Dogs respectively Ã¢ÂÂ as easily as she can move us with tales of war in Winter Child.
She hasnÃ¢ÂÂt moved too far from the bossa nova of Nouvelle Vague, and for all the strangeness there is still formula at work, with every song being more or less a form of melodic-pop sandwiched between a relevant noise, whether it be dogs barking or the loud slurping of tea.
Despite that, Camille hasnÃ¢ÂÂt aimed this album at any pre-made audience except people who appreciate her voice and her quirky sense of humour.
For fans of: Bjork, farmyards, Beth Orton