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Boomkat Product Review:
Domino's long-serving out-rock stylists return in fine fettle, transcending their prankish tendencies to produce one of the most acutely psychedelic and powerful entries in their sprawling catalogue.
Opener 'Sun and the Moon II' sets out the Merseysiders' stall brilliantly, its lopsided folk-rock swagger coming over like a bastard fusion of Spacemen 3 and 90s Robert Wyatt, only for the clouds of distortion to lift on 'You II', a post-punk reverie that's sonically as crisp as a January morning but somehow still seems sozzled to f**k. A handful of similarly minimalist un-pop gems form the backbone of the album - pay particular attention to the dizzy cold-wave of 'Seamless Boogie Woogie' and 'Misty II'. Elsewhere the band explore tripper territory, demonstrating a terrific working knowledge of prog, jazz, psych and beat-group tropes/traditions: 'Cosmic Radiation II' (better than its generic title suggests) and 'Done And Dusted II' are feasts of Morricone and Beatles-inflected drug-pop reminiscent of Pram, Stereolab and Nick Nicely in full flight. The songwriting, arrangements and production are terrific throughout, and perhaps most impressively of all, this record never lapses into self-indulgence - a crime which it's been easy to accuse Clinic of in the past. As it is, the beautifully written, performed and produced Free Reign II is a timely warning not to take Clinic for granted.