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Friday, November 8, 2013

Clocks - s/t

Band: Clocks
Album: s/t
Year: 1982
Style: New Wave, Power Pop, AOR Rock
Similar Bands: A's, Cheap Trick, Rick Springfield, Knack, Romantics, Cars, J Geils Band
"One-Word" Review: Solid-Power-Rock
Based Out Of: Wichita, Kansas
Label: Boulevard Records, CBS Records
 Clocks - Cover, Lyrics, Record
Clocks - Back, Lyrics, Record
Clocks (1982)

  1. She Looks A Lot Like You 2:35
  2. Here They Come 3:34
  3. Nineteen 3:44
  4. Without You 3:56
  5. Nobody's Fool 4:38 /
  6. When She Puts you Down 4:22
  7. Someone (Not Me) 4:39
  8. When Will I See You Again 2:46
  9. Summer 2:59
  10. Feeling This Way 2:56
Album Rating (1-10): 8.5

Members & Other Bands: 
Mike Flicker - Producer, Engineer, Mixing (Heart)
Jerry Sumner - Vox, Bass, guitar
Lance Threet - Guitar
Gerald Graves - Keys
Steve Swaim - Drums, Harmony Vox
John Lykes - Illustration
Randee St. Nicholas - Photography
Rolf Henneman - Engineer, Mixing, Production Assistant
Gregory Fulginiti - Mastering
Mike McRoberts - Prophet 5 Programming
Stan Plesser - Managment
Paul Peterson - Managment

Unknown-ness: I've not heard of this band before, and I really don’t know what to expect. It has a real 80’s deco look to it, yet it reminds me of the John Entwistle album cover. I feel like it is going to be an interesting power pop or new wave album just from the crisp lines on the front art work and the band photo on the back. The tar/oil ooze under the door also offers little unveiling of what it in store, except to expect the unexpected. I do like that the band simply put their name all lit up, where a lit up clock might be in the hotel room scenario.

Album Review: “She Looks A Lot Like You” was apparently their big song, even airing often on MTV, and written by the drummer while on tour in Canada about some girl who looked like an Ex of his. It begins with a heavy and powerful guitar chords, and is amplified by some zoomy keyboard effects. The song is sung in a bold and confident way, like the A’s second album. It is perfectly constructed radio friendly pop song, clocking in at the perfect single length. The sentiment is similar to the J Geils Band’s Centerfold
“Here They Come” starts off chugging along at a steady, shuffling uphill pace until it unleashes the building energy in the downhill chorus. The synth twinkling underneath is probably added because that’s what all the kids were doing at that time, but it really works. The instrumental offers a solid guitar solo before returning to the verse melody. The end features a nice reprise of the title’s melody.
“Nineteen” is a jittery nervous, and deeper sounding song. It makes the singer sound a little sleazy, but the song drives nicely, employs standard 80’s synth in the instrumental section, and always comes back to the dark, driving anxious melody and fast bouncy bass. There is frustration in the singer’s layered vocal performance, and the final section changes up the melody as an alarm-ish repetitive two note low to high accent on the syllables of Nine-Teen: just the perfect way to end it, like Elvis Costello’s “Accidents Will Happen” darker and in reverse melody.
“Without You” starts out seeming like it might be the album’s ballad, but by the time it hits the lengthy bridge/chorus, it is all power pop with guitars and a sturdy drum beat. The breakdown after two repetitions is uncharacteristically to the song, bouncy and piano-poppy. But it fits in as a variation of the melody. The music breaks down for the last minute and transforms into something spacey and futuristic, similar to Thomas Dolby or Gary Numan.
“Nobody's Fool” feels like a Bryan Adams song at first. Then it transforms to an exact copy of The A’s. It employs my favorite writing technique: building up to an expected delivery/or release of emotion, but it holds off for the real delivery after the second repetition. The song is very familiar with the hook it has created, and the second half of the song is all repetition of this killer melody, which breaks down into a guitar solo to end the track. It is up there with the most definitive of power-pop songs

“When She Puts you Down” has a very “Best Friend’s Girl” vibe to it. At any moment, they are going to say “Here she comes again.” The song employs a Van Halen “Jump” synth sound in the background. The harmonies of the chorus hammer the power pop genre home. It is just well done, formulaic, catchy song writing. They waste not one second, coming out of the guitar led instrumental into the catchiest part of the song, the bridge, ending in a reprise of the song title, looped and echoed with “It’s Gonna Hurt.”
“Someone (Not Me)” has wailing, sorrow full electric guitars at the intro, and a cool and collected vocal sings to the listener, and he is supported by a well-harmonized backing effort. Again this feels like another A’s song. Even as their ballad, this song still has a lot of punch and energy to it. The song changes gear about halfway through and switching the up front, vocal melody, to a more desperate and focused approach, and repeats it for the rest of the song, allowing the guitars and instruments replace the vocals.
“When Will I See You Again” sounds like it might be a cover of a doo-wop song, like something the Supremes might sing, with its starting bass notes, and drum kick rhythmic tempo. It maintains the general girl-group doo-wop formula, but it uses guitars, a bouncy piano section and power pop elements updating the sound.
“Summer” has a pub-rock feel to it as it begins, it is simpler, greasier and gritter thanks to the three note guitar melody and the simple kick drum rhythm. The voice has a slightly Foreigner, wavering sound to it. Compared to the rest of the album, this is probably the simplest song. But it is still well done, and ends with a “to be continued” feeling note, like summer’s not really over.
“Feeling This Way” has a galloping drum and guitar beat driving the song. The instrumental has a very loud synth keyboard that sounds more royal than spacey, but it still is trying to enter them into the new wave genre; such a fine line between power pop and new wave.

Stand Out Track: Nineteen


1 comment:

  1. This one got a CD release on the now-defunct Renaissance label, although the mastering was poor, so your vinyl copy is probably the better bet.