Clinic: Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral

Is there anything more unscrupulous than a writer who partakes in that despicable bit of perfidy known as "double-dipping"? This form of self-plagiarism--perhaps not far removed from self-abuse--finds said scribe pilfering from his own work and rehashing the same idea so as to cash a check once again. Having written about Clinic before, I'm somewhat guilty of the crime, and yet the thought of regurgitation serves some sort of poetic justice in this case: Isn't the Liverpool quartet doing a similar thing themselves?

Clinic started off in 1997 with a batch of garage-y singles on their own Aladdin's Cave of Golf label, cherry-picking the finest sonics of Nuggets-era psych and caveman thud, not to mention some primordial Velvet Underground for good measure. The raw singles were championed by John Peel and followed by albums such as their 2000 debut full-length Internal Wrangler, which cribbed an Ornette Coleman album cover, and 2002's Walking with Thee, which took cues from Augustus Pablo, Ennio Morricone, John Barry, Chic, and 13th Floor Elevators. Not a bad batch of herbs to add to an increasingly bland batch of indie-rock stew.

By the time of this year's Winchester Cathderal though, Clinic were left to filch from their own sparse catalog in addition to their esoteric record collection. The lead single, "The Magician," infringes on the copyright of their own "Welcome." "W.D.Y.Y.B." sounds like it stands for Walking's "Hippy Death Suite." Even when they slow things down to a soothing, albeit sinister, crawl for "Falstaff," you can't help but think they tuned up to Tommy James & the Shondells and Best of Bread beforehand.

For a group whose only trick remains their amalgam of a sound long past, sustained only a minute or three, with a costume shtick that moves between hospital scrubs and ragtime three-piece suits, interchangeability is to be expected. Hell, the Seeds only juxtaposed about four sounds, and they still rocked. But don't be surprised if, at Clinic's next show, you shout out "Come Into Our Room" and get "Thank You (For Living)" instead.

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