Clock Opera

Album Title: 
Ways To Forget
Release Date: 
Monday, October 1, 2012
Review Type: 

Weird lot, this London based Indie/ Alternative Rock quartet, which was originally started in early 2009 as a solo project by singer/ guitarist/ sampler (and apparently also producer) Guy Connelly, formerly a member with the bands The Fallout Trust and The Corrections.

He lived in this warehouse with bassist/ guitarist Andy West (at that time in the band Doloroso). West played with drummer Che Albrighton (a former member of Bikini Atoll), and Connelly had done some recordings for 'em. Keyboardist Dan Armstrong (formerly of The Rushes, and also a friend of Connolly) was invited to join the band after attending one of the band's early gigs. Soon after, in May 2009, the band played live accompaniment of a performance by the Rambert Dance Company at Queen Elizabeth Hall, exposing the band to a broader audience. The band released its first single White Noise on Nov. 16, 2009 through the Pure Groove Records label, and the next releases were the remix EPs A Piece Of String Remixes (also releases as single) and Once And For All on the French labels Maman Records and Kitsuné (respectively in June & October of 2010). This attracted the attention of the Moshi Moshi imprint (distributed in the UK by Island, a UMG subsidiary if I ain't mistaken). Obviously, this put the band on a higher step of the corporate ladder, leading to invitation to festivals (CO played the BBC Introducing stage at the 2011 Reading And Leeds Festivals, played at South By Southwest in 2011 & 2012, got spots at Great Escape, Liverpool Sound City, Dot To Dot, and played headliner at the Lake Stage of the 2012 Latitude festival. Along the way, the band also supported the likes of Marina And The Diamonds, Maximo Park, Metronomy, and The Temper Trap.

In 2011, Moshi Moshi released the single Belongings (the song, as well as “Move To The Mountains”, was used in two episodes of US television series Chuck) and the EP Lesson N° 7 (respectively in May and October; the latter again with remixes of the title track), and leading up to the UK release of the album in late April 2012, the band released a new recording of “Once And For All” (in February 2012 - the video clip that went along was the band's 5th) and a remix EP for the track “Man Trap” (released a week prior to the album). Since the UK release of the album on April 23, 2012, the band has released two more singles (Belongings and The Lost Buoys, respectively in July and November), and went out on their first headline tour of the UK. Dates in the US and Europe were also done: CO toured Germany in September, and The Lost Buoys Tour (October-November) covered Belgium (where they also performed on our country's television channel Vier's music show De Kruitfabriek), Holland, Denmark, the UK (again), Ireland, Japan, France, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. (info above re-written from the band's page on Wikipedia)

From that same page on Wiki, I learned that the band has a wacky way of constructing their songs, which starts with Connelly cutting up instrumental and found sounds into samples (there's apparently a number of “Making of” videos available where you can follow the process), which are then used as foundations for the band to create music upon. Lyrics, written by Connolly, usually come last. Now I have to admit, that after the first two listening sessions of the album (headphones, at work), I seriously considered not doin' this review at all, as for the exception of some mandolin-like play in some of the songs, I initially failed to hear the guitars it the music. Then I played the CD again at home, because I was bugged at having put all the effort of searching for the info...and suddenly I saw (or rather, heard) clear! Granted, the music is very much drenched in keyboards at times, and the guitars are played in a somewhat awkward manner...which is what deceived me in the first place...but the overall somewhat melancholic music (a feeling enhanced by Connelly's vocal stylings) is also very tuneful and catchy, often driven by a nicely repetitive bass line.

For your initiation to the band's music, check the stuff that's made available at SoundCloud and MySpace (links at (www.) Oh, and mind you : there's also remixes! Talking remixes, it turns out Connelly has done remixes of tracks from such music industry important acts as Architecture, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Metronomy, Marina And The Diamonds, and several others (consult the band's Wikipedia page for more details). My sincere thanks to Dutch distributor V2, who dig up such great bands as this on an almost constant basis!