San Francisco area band Jack ‘O The Clock has been described, in these pages and others, as a cross between Henry Cow and Gentle Giant, with a mix of New Weird Americana. This, their third release, does not deviate far from that description, yet still broadens their already wide oeuvre.
The lyrical theme of All My Friends is friendship. The combination of words and vocal melodies are haunting, and even disturbing if you listen closely. However, one can listen to the vocals of this release as just another instrument without being distracted. While an ostensibly a five piece in which each band member plays multiple instruments, they compliment their guitar, hammer dulcimer, violins, psaltery, bassoon, flute, bass, piano, drums, percussion, and accordion with church organ, harp, and a brass / wind section. But this plethora of musical tools results in more of a chamber rock than orchestral feel.
Not sold yet? Try out All My Friends on the group’s Bandcamp page. Listen to tracks 4-8. From disjointed percussion on The Pilot, to modern-rock-riffing-turned-contrapuntal-jazz on Saturday Afternoon On The Median, I dare you to not come away intrigued and wanting more.
If 2013 were to end today, Jack ‘O The Clock’s most recent release would easily win my nod for album of the year. Bravo.