Written By: PSG
This five-man-band is “Sock Hop” approved—not to say this music is not very modern and cool, but it has nice antique 1950’s sound to some of the songs, that give it great character. The lyrics are sweet and clever which make many of the songs simply fun and cheerful. An interesting theme, mentioned in several songs, including “Distaccati” and “New York,” is Walt Whitman, the poet. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but Whitman’s influence seems to be at work here as the lyrics’ rhythm is not dissimilar to Whitman’s poems – To hear the coolest vocals on the album turn to “As Is” at 1:50. Wicked!
The album as a whole has a guitar sound that is not exactly new, per se, but because Clock Hands Strangle handles it so perfectly, it comes across as something fresh. There is a great ability of this group to make their music sound like the subject matter of their lyrics. This is particularly noticeable in the song “Desert Music” where the notes really imitate the sound of plodding across the desert on the back of a lazy camel. The best example of their musical prowess is easily the instrumental track. This nifty little medley of sounds would be perfect in the soundtrack of any witty indie movie.
Three songs stood out. The first was “To a Meteorite in a Museum.” The beginning of this song is just beautiful. The vocals are clear and precise. The harmonica is absolutely amazing and there really should have been more, more, more. Harmonica can be really bad if used incorrectly but that is definitely not so in this case. The cosmic theme (present in several songs on the album) is perfectly creative and is just ‘!’ – There’s no other way to say it – “Come back soon, you left me like a footprint in the moon,” ‘nough said.
“A Stone Questions its Sculptor” is a song that really needs to be listened to in order to understand, but as far as its writing it works as an amazing conceit (extended metaphor). Shouldn’t everyone question that which has formed them? Parents? Teachers? Society? And upon questioning, shouldn’t those formative institutions be fought against if they have become oppressive? Listen to it, seriously. Perfectly balanced vocals and music, really. Last but not least is “Cotton.” The intro with the “radio quality” sound really makes the song. The vocals are at their best with a little southern twang. This sweet and slow song is a really musical accomplishment.