Clockwork Radio - EP

Owain Paciuszko 19/01/2009

Rating: 3/5

With a slight Celtic twinge and a fluctuating style to this 5-track EP's opening song Foxtrot Bravado, Clockwork Radio feel like a band out to grab your attention, and it works quite well with the insistently strummed guitar, clattering drums and string backing, whilst lead singer Rich Williams has a good voice in a Starsailor/Turin Brakes kind of way.

Lost comes along with its overlapping vocals and faux-epic feel, with its 80s vocal production it has an unfortunate The Killers air to it, but lots of people like The Killers, I don't, but I'm not lots of people. There's also a lot of guitar noodling over the power-pop drumming that puts me at a distance, this feels like a misjudged Charity single or, worse, Fall Out Boy.

Fortunately things perk up with State Of Mind that whilst still a touch too earnest also has the quirky, psychedelic pop flavour of Mohair or some of The Coral's slighty-experimental moments. Though ultimately Clockwork Radio are a pretty straight indie-pop band they do at least try and stretch themselves, rather than falling on cookie-cutter band fallbacks or trying too hard to sound like someone else. There is, at best, always an individuality to their work that is refreshing.

Zeppy is an instrumental that sounds like the band covering the score from a Sega Megadrive side-scrolling shoot-em-up, and, as one would expect from such a description, is pretty good! Unfortunately the final track finds them back again in big-statement-making Fall Out Boy mode, it's the kind of song that a band could get away with if they'd built up a career and found themselves filling stadiums and suddenly thought they had something important to say; coming from a new band it just feels awkward (not that I think many big bands get away with it either). On the plus side though it does sound almost exactly like a big band's 'big important' song, so, technically and musically they are playing at quite a high level and Williams' vocals can deliver the pomp well; it's just a shame the track itself is quite insipid.