Formed 10 years ago in Oakland, California, Jack O’ The Clock have released four studio albums going from 2008 to 2014. Last year, they’ve released their fifth album entitled, Repetitions of the Old City. In an interview with Ian Beabout on Prog Rock Deep Cuts, Damon mentioned the story behind the title is assessing the traumas of the past and pulling you into the direction on a society level and experiencing of considering generations.
And the general information of moving forward. The music is a cross between Chamber, Folk, Canterbury, and Rock In Opposition. And guests including Fred Frith of Henry Cow, Darren Johnston, and Jonathan Russell. While I’m new to the ball park of Jack O’ The Clock’s music, I have to say I was very impressed from the moment I’ve listened to the album for the second time.
Understand, the band’s music is not very easy to get into, but once you get into the hang of it, you can see and listen to what they’re going for. And the five centerpieces, endures the mind of where Damon Waitkus and his fellow bandmates know the inspirations and conceptual textures through brainstorming. Videos of the Dead is marching drums and bass melody that begins the composition followed by Frith’s echoing reverb guitar effect.
At first, Damon sings through an underwater background, but the he walks us through the rooms of the damned human race and the music feels as if it is something straight through Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1970 film, Zabriskie Point. Fighting the Doughboy is a cross between Chamber Rock, Avant-Folk Pop, and the Rock In Opposition movement. Intense time changes with some bassoons, the lyrics are very Zappa-sque with double-track drums and vocal backgrounds in the styles of the Northettes.
Epistemology / Evel Keel at first has a walking/medieval folk lyrics and then it changes into a psychedelic-folk-jazz-ambient finale in the styles of textures a-la Robert Wyatt style while When The Door Opens, It Opens On Everything echoes both the Octopus and In a Glass House-era of Gentle Giant. Damon’s voice resembles at times of Kerry Minnear as Jack O’ The Clock channels the band’s structures of their excellency.
And not to mention Alban Berg’s 12-tone technique that Emily Packard does through her violin. The Old Man and the Table Saw shows the quintet walking us through the various parts of the world. Emily really gets the violin to set course for sail to another adventure. Damon and the rest of her team are very much like the Captains of the ship and everything written down on a piece of paper.
Both he and bassoonist/flautist Kate McLoughlin share the vocals dealing with the stories on the piece. Jack O’ The Clock’s new album is one of their most interesting listens I’ve delved into their swimming pool. And as I’ve mentioned their music, is not easy to listen to, but if you love the genres I’ve mentioned earlier in my review, this is a perfect introduction to their sound. And while this part one, I hope they continue with the stories.
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