Release Date: Apr 23, 2012
Record label: Island / Moshi Moshi Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Synth Pop
On approaching Clock Opera, the thing that you have to get past is that name. Being a pun built on top of another pun it's one of those monikers that's amusing the first time you hear it and considerably less so with each subsequent mention, much like The Beatles (or their barbershop equivalent, The Be Sharps). But while the first instinct might be to write it off as a joke that they're unfortunately now stuck with, it could, with a bit of effort, be extrapolated to sum up the band and their both their charms and faults, with the first part reflecting the clockwork-like structures that form their songs, and the opera being...
Clock OperaWays To Forget[Moshi Moshi/Island; 2012]By Ray Finlayson; April 24, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweet“Clip-pop” is nothing new; people have been using snippets of noise and melody looped over and over again for decades now. Heck, you can trace it way back to the beginnings of the Musique concrète movement in the early 1940s and Pierre Schaeffer’s looping reels of birdsong and train noises, and even place it as the technical origin of most electronic genres, if not a whole host of other ones. It not only transformed what music could actually be, but also how music could be made in an advancing digital age.
Anyone who paid attention to our 2012 South by Southwest coverage will be aware of my glowing CoSign of British chop-pop act Clock Opera. Offering a dazzling live show, complete with the clanging of old silverware, the band has made the harrowing transition to an equally captivating record of synth-powered gold with their debut, Ways to Forget. For relying so heavily on synths, the album is neither overly technical and gloomy nor glitchy and bubbly.
Attention to detail. Meticulousness. Generally things we consider quite virtuous in any pop maestro. Clock Opera mainman Guy Connelly's calling card is supposedly his quest for sonic perfection by any eccentric means. Forgive me the laziness of quoting directly from the press release, but ….
Restraint is not part of the Clock Opera package. Producer/remixer/musician Guy Connelly has been plugging away at his electro-indie band project for some time now, and this, his debut album, bears all the hallmarks of something born out of a long gestation period, with its layers of bleeps and beats stacked up like fancy topping on a slightly sickly cake. The synth element has led to his sound being compared to the likes of Metronomy and Everything Everything, and while some of the idiosyncratic jerks and quirks have a similarly ambitious reach, particularly in a live setting, the recorded songs lack the same sense of fun or ease.
From the moony clank of listless opener ‘Once And For All’, the sense is that this could be a concept album about Müller Rice for all the passion it excites. Some erudite oaf accurately described Clock Opera as “extraordinarily accessible” – apt, seeing as their post-Kitsune fizz is as thrilling as a ride up Stanna Chairlift. Things limp from bad to tedious with ‘White Noise’, a song so passé it just bought its first shares in ITV Digital.
A product of perfectionism, but one where mechanical process obscures its human presence. Natalie Shaw 2012 Clock Opera’s debut album has been a long while coming – for a band first making waves in 2009, Ways to Forget has been given an unusual amount of time to form. But instead of feeding impatient sycophants with a rush-release, Guy Connelly’s sound has now found its signature.