Album Review: Clock Opera – Venn

By on Wednesday, 8th March 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Returning with only their second album in 8 years, Clock Opera have had a long time to piece together this sophomore effort, and it shows. It’s a well thought-out and implemented record that ties together the best in dark synthpop with a dash of indie. It must be said, you don’t get this vision immediately.

Opener ‘In Memory’ is a rather haunting track that doesn’t really go anywhere but is somehow still incredibly beautiful, particularly with singer Guy Connelly’s falsetto vocals above the darkened soundscape created. Fading into a purposeful ether, it’s an anomaly amongst the rest of the album and should be seen as more of a mood setter than an opening bold statement.

Track two ‘Changeling’ is where you get a real idea for what you’re in for. Pulsating synthesisers ring around falsettos while guitars cut through in the chorus to bring you out of the trance that was created. At the halfway point of the track, life is given to the pace album with serious tempo being brought in, which prompts the music to take on a whole new life. ‘Closer’ continues building this image of the album by greeting us with abrasive guitar riffs, bounding drums and striking piano., Heading in the same direction as the opener to begin with, single ‘Whippoorwill’ takes a dramatic change of pace but soon turns into a dramatic pop chorus where layered vocals and sound erupts. Fading with a bit more warning in the form of an outro, as opposed to the prior tracks abrupt endings, it leads nicely into ‘Hear My Prayer’. Making for a nice halfway point, the track is more of a summary of what came before it, taking all the past components into a powerful and emotive track.

Starting the second half where the emotional remains of ‘Hear My Prayer’ lie, ‘Ready Or Not’ really does beg its own question. Breaking in somewhat gently with a sparse canvas made up of an obnoxious synth sound, a timid beat and more trademark falsetto, it gradually builds up to a crescendo of falling vocal layers. While on the subject of vocals, ‘Dervish’ is a chance for Connelly to put his talents to work with a climbing range of his vocal abilities. A la Everything Everything, it’s a purposeful and affective juxtaposition of the ranges he can reach, one being acheievable and the other being tremendous highs we’ll never have a chance of attaining. Throughout the track, the vocals are the centerpiece, utilisng layers and ranges to build the song rather than instrumentation, which acts as a weight bearer.

After all the previous complexities, ‘Cat’s Eye’ goes for a more straight shot, with repetitive parts. It’s a welcomed break from the challenging listens before, but it’s nice to get back into the thick of it with ‘Tooth & Claw’. The song is all too happy to oblige, with a bare, emotive vocal performance that reaches new levels of falsetto while synthesisers dance around it, and the rhythm section keeps everyone’s feet firmly on the ground. As each chorus bursts into life, they gain momentum, making themselves more and more powerful, both emotionally and musically. ‘Tooth & Claw’ is a powerful track that’s simultaneously the shortest, it paves the wave for the ethereal finale of ‘When We Disappear’. Slowly building to an exotic crescendo at its end, the track does as its previous track ‘Hear My Prayer’, pulling its half into an epic conclusion.

‘Venn’ is a mixture and flurry of tracks that equally bind to form an album that stirs emotions you didn’t know existed. Taking you on a journey through the minds of Connelly and co., is an album that you should be giving your full attention in every respect.

8/10

The long-awaited sophomore album from Clock Opera, ‘Venn’, is out now on League of Imaginary Nations and !K7. To read more of TGTF’s coverage on Clock Opera, click here.

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