Album: Day Clinic
Category: Post-Punk / Psychedelic / Rock
Release Date: 2023-01-06
Author: Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
Once known as Janis, the multinational quartet now called Day Clinic presents on this self-titled debut a rather odd concoction that applies the blistering urgency of late ‘70s post-punk to a decidedly dreamy and psychedelic style of late ‘60s rock. This applies as much to the lyrics as to the music, as evidenced most notably by a song like “Memorial Day,” its diatribes on the persistent futility and the deathly costs of war resonating as palpably as they would have 60 years ago, the wah-wah guitars and Ruby Mai’s saxophone set to aggressively scraping rhythms and martial drums that wouldn’t have been out place on the post-war streets of the London or New York punk scenes. Some might argue that the anti-war sentiments prevalent in the rock and pop music of past generations are still relevant given the seemingly perpetual warlike state of humanity; others might believe such topics to have been so overstated that all potency in the messaging is lost. Thankfully, Day Clinic seems keenly aware of this as “Sisyphus” takes a more generalized approach with repetitions of “Enjoy your life” and “Enjoy your luck” amid darkly enticing chord progressions that one could almost call bluesy; the sustained drones of guitar and sax create a lovely counterpoint, with the finale picking up the tempo to a punklike tension, like the boulder uncontrollably rolling down the hill in the titular Greek myth. “A Mirror” is notable for the vacillation of major and minor keys in Mai’s sax solos, giving it a quality not unlike the theatrical flights of sci-fi fancy in The Rocky Horror Picture Show or even Repo! The Genetic Opera, the angular guitars and gritty bass tone in the later section almost reminiscent of ‘70s era King Crimson.
Strangely, for all the brashness of the album’s first few tracks, things take a turn with the “2:37am” interlude, its layers of guitar and synth lulling the listener into the grim monotony that ensues with “As Above So Below” and “Ghosts.” The former track evokes a distinct desert blues vibe, full of wispy atmospheres from its reverberant instrumentation, but even as waves of volume and intensity make themselves known, its adherence to repetition renders the song somewhat inert. This could almost be said of “Ghosts” if not for the droning and meditative vocal harmonies, manta-like amid Sitar tones and spacey synths that provide a sense of ritualistic purpose to the song, ending Day Clinic on a hypnotic note. Day Clinic is clearly trying to make music that matters, addressing topics both specific and universal without alienating the audience, and doing so by way of a somewhat modernized take on a tried and true style. Perhaps it doesn’t come across as so crucial a statement as the band would like, but those with a taste for psych rock with a post-punk edge should at the very least find some enjoyment.