If only prescription behavioral drugs hadn’t replaced LSD as teenagers’ pharmaceutical of choice, Clinic might be bigger than Jesus. Fortunately for Clinic, their psychedellic fourth album seems less concerned with defining the sound of a generation than working through some kind of crazy instruments checklist. Everything from their signature harmonica to what sounds like an electronic kazoo makes an appearance somewhere on this album, but Clinic’s mastery of musical influences (doo-wop, garage rock, traditional Venusian folk songs, etc.) remains engaging enough to keep this from becoming a freak show.
Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Less abrasive than 2007’s Grinderman, Cave’s exclamation-point-happy 14th album with the Bad Seeds tweaks the ususal formula with a shot of early ’70s protopunk. The absolute brilliance of the first three songs, including the title track — which transports the biblical zombie to New York City — and the nearly too-literary “We Call Upon the Author to Explain,” overshadow the rest of the album on the first few listens, but this near-perfect mixture of poetry and noise is probably Cave’s most enjoyable and accessible release since Murder Ballads.
If you’re the kind of person who will only dance to music played by skinny white dudes, Antidotes probably sounds like the cure for the dying dance-punk genre. By upping the tempo on minimalism’s pulsating instrumental loops, ignoring the four lowest strings on the guitar, and placing an unstoppable robot behind the drum kit, Foals have created a signature sound practically guaranteed to get you shaking your awkward ass. Off the dance floor, however, Foals are mostly a one-trick pony (sorry), lacking the variety and idiosyncratic touches that make the genre’s best bands great, and leaving you guessing where one track ends and another begins.