Psych Acid-Blues-Folkers return with thirteen tracks of nigh on perfection
The only thing that is better than hearing a great album, is it being from one of your favourite bands who are back to their best and firing on all cylinders. This is exactly what happened with of Arrowe Hill’s new album A Conspiracy of Clocks. After a couple of lo-fi semi-acoustic albums, they are back with a full band and a fuller sound. A Conspiracy of Clocks is chocked full of the psychedelic acid blues that has made them one of the most exciting bands for the last 14 years.
These Owls of Mine starts the albums. Sounding like a skiffle guitar battle, it winds and intertwines for 66 seconds then lead singles …& That’s What Really Happened Blues and Around the Corner help to continue the album in fine form. Both showcase singer songwriter Adam Easterbrook skill of storytelling and love of word play. The first is about a rather fun night out and, as the song says, what REALLY happened. The second is a faux-calypso jaunt, that despite the jauntiness of the music, has a melancholy feel to the lyrics. Classic Easterbrook. Just when you think you have the song worked out, BAM, he throws in a line and you suddenly start questioning if what he’s saying he actually means. Eat your heart out Kafka! Also there is a wonderful flute solo that really ties the song together.
Against the run of play there is an instrumental track. This give the band a chance to stretch their musical muscles. To call it a highlight is an understatement. Whatever that Means sounds like something you seen on the re-runs of Beat Club. It’s rammed full of jangly riffs and tight harmonies. Despite the morbid theme of the final track, it ends on a light note with the best worst joke ever.
What this album does best is show that all you need are ideas and everything else is possible. While the album is pretty lo-fi, the subtle layers and textures give the tracks something that would have been missing if the recording had been plusher. On A Conspiracy of Clocks Adam Easterbrook has successfully written an album full of catchy rhythms and macabre lyrics, that is perfect for winter listening. When playing the album at home, you want to pull the curtains, dim the lights and keep warm. Personally I like listening to it while having a brisk walk, and pulling my scarf and coat tighter round my neck while having my hands well and truly rammed in my pockets. So all the same this time next year then Adam?