Clinic will offer a sneak preview of their third album, Winchester Cathedral, during a U.S. club tour next month. The album will be released August 23rd, and it continues Liverpool-based art rockers' foray into eerie atmospheric territory, marrying haunting woodwinds and brass with more traditional keyboard-based rock.
"I think in comparison to [2002's] Walking With Thee it's got a more natural, earthier sound to it," lead singer Ade Blackburn says from his Liverpool home. "The songs started off in a more pagan, folk style than in a nice, pretty folk style. So they're still quite pounding rhythmically . . . but sort of simple."
On the first single, "The Magician," the group explores Eastern sounds, as a snaky clarinet offsets a pulsing groove. "It's got a balance of humor and intensity," says Blackburn.
Other songs include the laidback "Falstaff," featuring chimes and soulful harmonies, and the carnivalesque "August," which fuses a repetitive piano line with percussion and more clarinet. "It sounds quite old to me," Blackburn says, "like a song from an old musical."
For Clinic, atmosphere is key. "If you can get the mixture of mood but still have strong melodies then you immediately get more of a depth to the songs," Blackburn says, "rather than just a pretty melody."
Clinic named the album after the Middle Age structure to convey the underlying folksy influences that are endemic to their homeland. "I thought it was an archetypal English city," Blackburn says of Winchester, "and I felt it was apt to have something that was quite symbolic of England."
Winchester Cathedral's track list:
Circle of Fifths
Clinic tour dates:
5/8: Brooklyn, NY, Southpaw
5/9: Washington, DC, Black Cat
5/10: Cleveland, Grog Shop
5/11: Detroit, Magic Stick
5/12: Columbus, Wexner Center
5/13: Newport, KY, Southgate House
5/14: Chicago, Abbey Pub
5/15: Columbia, MO, Blue Note
5/16: Lawrence, KS, Bottleneck
5/18: Denver, Bluebird Theatre
5/19: Salt Lake City, Liquid Joe's
5/21: San Francisco, Bimbo's
5/22: Los Angeles, Knitting Factory
5/23: San Diego, Casbah