Jack o' the Clock — All My Friends
(Bandcamp no#, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-12-12
This Northern California ensemble plays an off-kilter mix of a number of styles with enough originality to make what they do hopelessly unclassifiable, yet beckoning on a number of levels. There are bits of folk, wyrd pop, jugband elements, classical, avant-garde, experimental, and just about anything else one can think of – except any sort of mainstream rock, all colliding in a kaleidoscopic vision that is immediately accessible, but at the same time like nothing one might have heard before, unless that includes their two previous albums. The band is a five piece plus guests, with nearly all the songwriting, production and engineering credits going to multi-instrumentalist / vocalist and de-facto bandleader Damon Waitkus. Among the credits for instrumentation, one will find bassoon, acoustic and electric bass, violin, marimba, flute, hammer dulcimer, banjo, clarinet, tenor sax, melodica, guitar, piano, accordion, vibraphone, trombone, guzheng, drums, junk percussion, corrugated plastic tubes and much more. Several members (male and female) share the vocals, and create some stunningly beautiful harmonies, and some very interesting ones as well. This is primarily acoustic based music, where quietly meditative moments mix freely with unusual songcraft throughout the album’s thirteen tracks. I am really at a loss to provide any convenient comparisons or reference points to anything else that a reader may have heard, although at various points recognizable elements may flash for brief moments and then disappear just as quickly. The lyrics are every bit as interesting as their music (all posted on the band’s website). All taken, this is some of the most stunningly original music that one is likely to hear, on this world or any other.
Related artist(s): Jack o' the Clock
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