Having listened to a lot of Alt/Folk/Rock these last few weeks in a bid to bring you the best of the current Indie crop in that genre (and to release you from the tedium that is Mumford and Sons) Ralph's nipped over the Irish Sea to check out Clockwork Noise as they've recently released an album 'Whethermachines' and it ticks all the boxes. Clockwork Noise are Blathnaid Healy on violins, cellos and vocals - Dylan Nolan on Bass and Vocals - Michael Fenton- Drums and Vocals - Robert Maguire on Lead Vocals and Guitars - Chris O' Connor- Vocals and Guitars.
They say they are fascinated by juxtaposition. The marriage of quiet and loud, classical and contemporary, pretty and ugly, chaos and order - 'Whethermachines' being the culmination of a long journey exploring this concept. After releasing an EP ‘Yes and No and Everything In Between’ in 2009, the ﬁve-piece band from Ireland set about collecting thoughts for a full-length album. A large number of songs evolved from two years of performing live, and the band began an intense pre-production phase, marshaled by Torsten Kinsella of God Is An Astronaut.
Months of editing, exploration, and experimentation left the band with nine songs, and the concentrated essence of an album. Temporarily divorcing themselves from the live music circuit, Clockwork Noise focused on bringing the songs to life, recording material everywhere from high-tech studios to the streets of Dublin. Over several years the album evolved, and in 2012 was ﬁnally cemented into place by Ivan Jackman of Silverline Studios. The ﬁnished product is crammed with juxtapositions – it features reﬁned string sections and frantic digital noise; delicate harmonising and visceral screaming.
On first listening, the album may just be all things to all people as the lead track 'A Wake Up Serenade' goes from an orchestral intro into shades of QOTSA. Second track in 'Advocate' kicks off with choppy 80's pop guitar work a la Roddy Frame but soars into a strong Alt/Rock vocal backed by violins.
'Egocentric' has Snow Patrol etched into it, high on musicality and lyrical content. The fourth track 'The Brink' gets slightly heavier with some sublime strings although retaining the Snow Patrol-esque vocals. 'Wizard of Ill' on the other hand is more Alt/Pop with appealing folky strings.
Six tracks in and 'Windows' takes us on a heavier rock trip. The ever present violins backing a meatier vocal with more than a hint of Soundgarden to it (no bad thing). 'Great Escape' follows on with moodier vocals and builds to a powerful US Alt/Rock chorus.
The acoustic intro to 'Simple Problems' lightens the music but not the emotions. It's a seemingly introspective track and no comparisons to be made on this one...it's all Clockwork Noise. The album finishes with 'The Tourists' and it's another strong lyric backed by more Folk/Rock violins and choppy guitar. Another track that they've firmly placed their own stamp on and for me, possibly the best track on the album.