Clockwork Orchestra — A Fish for a Heart
((Not on label) Soft Bodies Records, 2014, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-12-26Right off the bat, the name Clockwork Orchestra makes me think of the phrase a clockwork orange, something ordinary in appearance but robotic in action. I’m not sure if this really applies here, but A Fish for a Heart, the second release for Paul Mangan aka Clockwork Orchestra, is an incredibly bizarre collection of twelve quirky songs. The opening song, “Generator Girls,” takes you back to the 80s and the Young Marble Giants’ Colossal Youth with its drums, cheesy organ, electronics, and guttural vocals. The music is edgy and mechanical with some intelligent yet off the wall lyrics: “On a bed of nails, cautionary tales are breaking my train of thought.” This album is a complete change of pace from anything being released today. A Fish for a Heart is an infectiously listenable album despite Paul’s bedroom/home studio approach. Each song stands on its own, exhibiting various influences, be it the steam punk/cabaret style of “Puddle Fishing” or the Human League’s “Dance Hall Days” on “Percy.” The childlike simplicity of “Squeak’s Intervention” also evokes comparison to Grandpa Egg on this side of the pond. Other points of reference would be Morgan Fisher’s Hybrid Kids and the French band Ptôse. A thoroughly enjoyable mixed bag of engrossing and at times utterly deranged songs. A Fish for a Heart is a welcome release likely to beguile those of us with a penchant for adventurous music.
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more