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Jack O' The Clock - All My Friends CD (album) cover


Jack O' The Clock


Prog Folk

3.99 | 94 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars JACK O' THE CLOCK are an American band who play an avant-garde style of Folk music but we also get some Zappa-like tunes and passages, in fact we even get a Chamber-music vibe as well with bassoon, woodwinds and brass being featured. There are a lot of instruments and guests helping out on this 2014 release. The cover art is an old black and white photo that looks like it's turning yellow. I'm not a fan of Folk music so it took me a while to appreciate what they've done here because I just don't naturally like Folk. This is innovative and challenging though with enough variety to keep me interested. I have to mention the lyrics as well because they are so well done and they speak to me at times.

"All My Friends Are Dead" is an amusing title I suppose and I didn't expect the first song to be so haunting with those desperate sounding spoken words adding to the eerie mood. Strings and intricate sounds help out and there's plenty of dark atmosphere 2 minutes in when the vocals stop. They return and it's not as dark this time as horns, flute and more help out. "The Academy" is a short piece with spoken words and light Classical music as the sounds of applause come in late to end it. "A Lot Of People Are Dead wrong Most Of The Time" has this Zappa-like intro as the vocals join in. A very melodic and enjoyable chorus arrives, especially the vocals. A cool instrumental section follows before the vocals return as it continues to change although themes are repeated. "The Pilot" has these interesting percussion-like sounds as the vocals join in. This is avant-garde all the way then it turns fuller before 3 minutes and this is really enjoyable. "Deepwater Turbines Turning" is another short piece with strange sounds that rise and fall before it settles down late. I like it! "Half Searching, Half There" opens with banjo and acoustic guitar I believe as reserved vocals join in and the banjo stops. It builds 2 minutes in but it's brief although this theme will return later.

"Saturday Afternoon On The Median" has sampled voices as drums, bass and guitar join in. This is different as it's more of a Rock tune. It then becomes Zappa-like just before a minute. This is an uplifting song and one of my favs. "Disaster" features piano, bass and percussion early on and we get some female backing vocals as well. I like the line before 2 minutes that says "Oh my God am I the only one that saw that!" as the mood rises beautifully. "Analemma" has atmosphere galore to start but we do get some vocals, but when they stop the atmosphere dominates once again. "What To Do In Our Neighborhood 1" opens with a quotation from one of the Gospels before bass, drums and horns lead the way as the vocals join in. Picked guitar also joins in this upbeat number. I like the backing vocals late. "What To Do In Our Neighborhood 2" is nothing like part 1 as this is more Zappa-like than Folk. "Old Friend In A House" is another favourite of mine. Trumpet to start in this sparse soundscape as soft vocals, percussion, piano and more are added as he sings about smoking hash and more. The trumpet is back before 4 1/2 minutes then it picks up a minute later. The trumpet leads as spoken words arrive 6 1/2 minutes in. A spooky calm follows then the vocals return with plenty of atmosphere. "All My Friends Are In My Head" opens with atmosphere and sampled voices then just before a minute we get a folky instrumental section taking over with lots of intricate sounds.

This has been getting quite a bit of hype in certain circles so if your into challenging Folk music this is a must. A low 4 stars from the anti-Folk fan.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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