Internal Wrangler

Something's been lost in translation. The hard consonants. The sibilant hiss. The raw slang. The vibe....

And you will know them by the trail of cred. The death’s-head shades, the black polo necks, the Bowery pallor; like Hansel-And-Gretel breadcrumbs, they’re carefully dropped between Liverpool and NYC so [a]Clinic[/a] can always find their way back to their spiritual home. It doesn’t take much cultural unravelling to work out the geography of their collective consciousness – all you need is the rock map drawn up by Messrs Cale and Reed, cartographers by appointment to the pale, the serious, and the possibly low on ideas.

And here’s the problem: you take on some of the most viscerally thrilling music of the past four decades, you better make sure it sounds like you bought it off your man in Times Square and not over the counter in a provincial Boots. While [a]Clinic[/a]’s singles compilation last year was – argh – [I]promising[/I], ‘Internal Wrangler’ is an object lesson in substance abuse. That is, it doesn’t really have any. The style is cool, the moves perfect, but you can take as much of lasting value from a stick of gum as you can from these dank-basement stomps.

. And there’s a song called ‘Hippy Death Suite’, and you have to love a song called ‘Hippy Death Suite’.

Yet instead of the Medusa-stare and glacial intent of the deadly serious, ‘Internal Wrangler’ too often feels like quirky, novelty, pop-up art-rock-cool in a can. You just can’t mix red wine and custard, and while the hyper-speed ‘CQ’ propels itself towards the unhinged smash of ‘White Light White Heat’, it ends up sounding like George Formby on spiked ale.

‘Voodoo Wop’ features guest vocals from an angry wasp, and although ‘The Return Of Evil Bill’ and ‘TK’ are fine songs, their spaghetti western stylings are so tinny they could be packaged by Heinz.

Something’s been lost in translation. The hard consonants. The sibilant hiss. The raw slang. The vibe. ‘Internal Wrangler’ might speak the language fluently, but unluckily, it just doesn’t know the password.