Liverpool's art punk four-piece Clinic formed in 1997 out of the ashes of Ade Blackburn and Hartley's previous band, Pure Morning. The duo added Brian Campbell and Carl Turney to the fold and released the thrashy debut single "IPC Sub-Editors Dictate Our Youth" on the group's own Aladdin's Cave of Golf label; it reached number nine in John Peel's Festive 50 singles roundup that year. 1998 saw the release of equally well-received singles like "Cement Mixer" and "Monkey on My Back," which also showcased Clinic's blend of chugging, Velvet Underground-style guitars, icy, Suicide-esque keyboards and drum machines, and Blackburn's acidic, Lennon-esque vocals.
Clinic began a flurry of activity in 2000, releasing their first album, Internal Wrangler, and the singles "The Return of Evil Bill" and "Distortions." That summer, they appeared at Scott Walker's Meltdown and All Tomorrow's Parties festivals and toured with Radiohead. The following year, the group returned to the studio and Internal Wrangler was released domestically in the U.S. In early 2002, Clinic resurfaced with their second full-length, Walking with Thee, which provided a more spacious, atmospheric take on the group's sound. That spring, the band launched a full-fledged tour of the States.
Clinic embarked on a tour of the U.S. before the release of their third album, Winchester Cathedral, and another tour after its arrival. The band reunited with Gareth Jones, who mixed Internal Wrangler, for Visitations, a rawer effort that harked back to Clinic's early days. Visitations was released in late 2006 in the U.K. and early in 2007 in the U.S. Early in 2008, the band released the single "Free Not Free" as a free download; the full-length Do It!, which took a more streamlined approach than Visitations, surfaced that spring. For 2010's Bubblegum, the band went in a gentler, chamber pop-inspired direction. Clinic self-produced their next album, 2012's psychedelic Free Reign, enlisting Oneohtrix Point Never's Daniel Lopatin to mix certain songs and issuing one version of the album as a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee with a download code for the music.