Clockwork Orchestra - Friends Without Names

If you know the work of Harry Merry - or John Shuttleworth - then you will come prepared to the world of Clockwork Orchestra.

 

This is an eccentric thing, but a hell of a lot of fun, and a record you need to hear if you’re feeling waspish… The sound is a sort of warped bedroom electronic pop: played for an imaginary revue, an unholy mix of Hinge and Bracket and Soft Cell. There’s a song called Zebedee, make of that what you will. The sounds are that sort that can be extremely grating, especially in the face of a force 10 hangover: Metamorphosis is a particularly queasy mulch of squeaks, blurts and happy Disco Beat settings. If you know the work of Harry Merry - or John Shuttleworth - then you will come prepared to the world of Clockwork Orchestra. The reediness of the synths reminds me of early Depeche Mode too; Accident and Zebedee are particularly Basildon-tastic. And the last track, Black Ice, is a veritable fairground ride of electronic dance music, shape shifting and swerving merrily between a whole host of styles and attitudes.

The LP is also pretty acute, lyrically; funny observations litter Friends Without Names, the opener The Book That Won’t Be Read, or Miss World have a whole host of pithy one-liners amongst the squelchy keys and reedy electronica. Now and again we get something that is quite thoughtful: Paper Purse, Mummer and Talking to the Flowers are good reflective pop songs: the former’s a bit like Two Sisters by the Kinks (if that comparison doesn’t sound too nonsensical), and at times it’s got something of Syd Barrett’s skewwhiff burnt out whimsy. Great fun, you should give it some time.