Clinic | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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On their superb second album, Walking With Thee (Domino), the Liverpool quartet Clinic once again plunder several decades' worth of rock quirk--but they're getting better at wiping their fingerprints off the stolen goods. Bypassing most of the blatant 60s garage elements that gave the group's debut, Internal Wrangler, its dirty sneer, they pare things down: Ade Blackburn's guitar is often spare if not totally absent, which graduates the frenetic rhythms of drummer Carl Turney and bassist Brian Campbell from skeleton to body. The keyboard work, by Blackburn and the member known only as Hartley, adds color but not clutter: distorted organ toughens the stomp of the title track, dubby melodica accents disorient the ambling groove of "Mr. Moonlight," and staccato electric piano lines reinforce the house-y cymbal patter on "Come Into Our Room." Blackburn's singing remains the focal point; at his most contemplative he evokes Radiohead's Thom Yorke, but on more rhythmically pitched tunes his voice clenches in delicious tension, as if he's fighting a deep pain just to make it through the song. The Kingsbury Manx and the Pattern, fronted by ex-Peechees singer and Lookout Records owner Christopher Appelgren, open. Thursday, March 28, 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace; 773-478-4408.

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