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Thread: Jack O' The Clock - Leaving California

  1. #1

    Jack O' The Clock - Leaving California

    Our beloved band on Cuneiform - what could be better than this?

    I am loving the new album. It's less complex, less dense, less avant-proggy than what precedes it - but it compensates on the level of warmth and beautiful songwriting. The Americana elements are prevalent and permeate the whole album, but they add up to songs that are full of surprises and rich in context. Listen to the quirky The Butcher or the Narrow Gate, one of the most accomplished epics not only of the band but of any band. I don't think that there is any band that can write in our days such a complex song, achieving such levels of clarity.

    Kudos also to Thea Kelly for her beautiful vocals, reminiscent of the great female folk voices of the past. I think her participation is an upgrade in the domain of vocals for the band.

    The thoughts of the demanding crowds of PE on the album?

  2. #2
    ^ I'm a little disappointed with the longer songs, which were always the highlights of previous albums. "The Butcher" doesn't seem to do much. It's got some really good parts, but it doesn't stick together as a whole. Maybe that's part of the overall more simple approach to the songwriting/playing. Maybe I'm just missing something. Even with that said, this is an excellent album, one that I'm still trying to inhabit. That is likely why it's not clicking with me right now--my head isn't in the space to really inhabit this album, and I've spent most of days listening to heavier stuff (I just discovered Hawkwind! How have I missed out on Hawkwind for all these years!). The title track or perhaps "Jubilation" are my favorites so far.

    This might be a step down from the previous two albums, but those were both so excellent even a step back from them is still mighty good.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  3. #3
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    I have listened this so far only twice. At this point I feel that it is a good album but can't really match the previous ones (which were magnificent).
    "A waste of talent and electricity." John Peel on ELP

  4. #4
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    ^^^^^^^

    How DID you miss Hawkwind?

    In Search Of Space is my favorite....
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

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    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  5. #5
    ^I wish I knew! I’ve owned Space Ritual for a long time now, but it never clicked. (It’s a tough album to listen to without knowing the originals, methinks—I imagine I’ll appreciate it more now.). I was randomly looking for something new and stumbled across Warrior. The rest is history. Kinda surprised there’s not an on-going thread for the band, especially with a new album on the way and a really good live show released last year (perhaps fans don’t like the current band? perhaps I’ll start a thread?).

    Anyway, just want to make sure I temper my original post about JotC’s new album a bit. It is very good, and I’m hearing new things with each listen. I think “A Quarter-Page Ad” is going to be one of those tunes I don’t hear fully and appreciate deeply until I have the time to do so. It made me pause and give it a second listen earlier today.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  6. #6
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    I find that JotC albums take quite a while to fully digest. All I need is for at least one track to hook me, and then the rest eventually follow. The Butcher is the song that I currently can't get enough of. The rest, especially the more somber folk tracks, haven't fully clicked yet, but they'll likely get there. I don't think I'll end up liking this one as much as the previous two, but it's certainly seems a worthy addition to their discography. I'm also very happy to be getting another album from them at all, as it seemed for a second that they might call it quits after the last one.

  7. #7
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    Oh, also I want to mention that I totally agree about Thea Kelly being fantastic on this album. Her voice compliments Damon's incredibly well.

  8. #8
    I'm not really buying much new music anymore, as I'm more than happy to just sit around the house and listen to my old Yes, Salt-N-Pepa and Roger Whittaker records yet once again - but I most certainly will be getting this one.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  9. #9
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    I am very happy with Leaving California. I think it is on par with the rest of their catalogue, although maybe not the absolute highlight, which is Repetitions pt. 1 for me.

    I agree that Thea Kelly is a great addition to the band. Damons more nasal vocals can get a bit tiresome on a whole album. That is fixed now.
    Maybe it is a tad less complex but I still hear a lot of tremendous detail and variation. I do like the fact that the album in general it is more upbeat and rocky. I miss the bassoon but a more trimmed and 'lean' line-up also has advantages; it can make touring easier.

    My favorite track is the narrow gate. Surely one of the best tracks they have done so far.

  10. #10
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    It's a good album but I prefer a couple of earlier ones more, it lacks some of the quirky avant elements and personally I miss the bassoon.
    Ian

    Gordon Haskell - "You've got to keep the groove in your head and play a load of bollocks instead"
    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by NogbadTheBad View Post
    It's a good album but I prefer a couple of earlier ones more, it lacks some of the quirky avant elements and personally I miss the bassoon.
    The Butcher compensates on the quirky department, and it has clarinet which is sort of close to the bloody bassoon.

    Steve, what do you think of it? Satisfied?

  12. #12
    The coda to the Narrow Gate, from point 8.30 onward is incredibly gorgeous, a medieval piece of music where Thea's vocals shine. I am completely enamored with this song!

  13. #13
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    This may be my favourite of theirs yet. Repetitions I is the other that I really like. I love The Butcher, Leaving California and others. While I don't dislike it, but I'm still trying to fathom the magnificence of The Narrow Gate. Maybe I'll get there, lol. Overall, it's a very fresh and energized sounding record, to my ears.

    And the album is strong enough for me not to really miss bassoon that much. Kind of like, even though SGM is sublime with Carla, the Free Salamander Exhibit album was so good, I didn't miss her as much as I thought that I would.

    Neil

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by boilk View Post
    This may be my favourite of theirs yet. Repetitions I is the other that I really like. I love The Butcher, Leaving California and others. While I don't dislike it, but I'm still trying to fathom the magnificence of The Narrow Gate. Maybe I'll get there, lol. Overall, it's a very fresh and energized sounding record, to my ears.

    And the album is strong enough for me not to really miss bassoon that much. Kind of like, even though SGM is sublime with Carla, the Free Salamander Exhibit album was so good, I didn't miss her as much as I thought that I would.

    Neil
    Narrow Gate needs 5 listens to start unlocking itself. It is sublime.

    As for the SGM, FSE analogy it is very much valid for me. If you read the comments for the FSE album in here, they are very much alike to what is written here. Kind of an inability to receive this as what it is, without comparing. Which is human, all too human.

    Leaving California the track, with that slide guitar and the opening lyrics "I want more, than I can rightly take" is a monumental, defining piece of American music. Its likes will not be found in the avant-prog territory but in the best moments of Bob Dylan or Neil Young.

  15. #15
    I saw them open up for MoeTar in Berkeley. They were great. Any recommendations of a few albums?
    I sold merch for MoeTar that evening. Moorea said I could have a shirt, which I stupidly declined.
    Ready for a Raze The Maze show this year!

  16. #16
    ^Really hard to go wrong with anything, but if you need a sampler (so to speak), grab the live album available (download only) on Bandcamp. Great starting point.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  17. #17
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rapidfirerob View Post
    Any recommendations of a few albums?
    How Are We Doing...
    All My Friends
    Night Loops
    Repetitions/II
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

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    That makes you what you are" - Ian Anderson

  18. #18
    It's weird that some are saying the new album is less complex and has less quirky avant elements than past records, while everyone is praising Repetitions pt. 1, which is even less avant-proggy and more simple (it's proggy, but has barely any avant-prog, and the arrangements are much simplier than on the last record). In terms of songwriting and arrangements, Leaving California is in line with Repetitions pt. 2, which is their most complex album, but with a lighter feel, more straightforward melodies at times and a tighter approach. It's also probably their most virtuoso on an instrumental level (especially the guitar parts). I would put these impressions on the fact that the album is 10 minutes shorter that the others, and lacks the kinda experimental interludes some of them had. It's really 7 different songs which all have their own flavor, which isn't something they've done before.

  19. #19
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    ^Really hard to go wrong with anything, but if you need a sampler (so to speak), grab the live album available (download only) on Bandcamp. Great starting point.
    Yeah, Jack O' has never done a weak album.
    "A waste of talent and electricity." John Peel on ELP

  20. #20
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilgore Trout View Post
    It's weird that some are saying the new album is less complex and has less quirky avant elements than past records, while everyone is praising Repetitions pt. 1, which is even less avant-proggy and more simple (it's proggy, but has barely any avant-prog, and the arrangements are much simplier than on the last record). In terms of songwriting and arrangements, Leaving California is in line with Repetitions pt. 2, which is their most complex album, but with a lighter feel, more straightforward melodies at times and a tighter approach. It's also probably their most virtuoso on an instrumental level (especially the guitar parts). I would put these impressions on the fact that the album is 10 minutes shorter that the others, and lacks the kinda experimental interludes some of them had. It's really 7 different songs which all have their own flavor, which isn't something they've done before.
    Repetitions Part 2 is my the favourite Jack O' album.
    "A waste of talent and electricity." John Peel on ELP

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Kilgore Trout View Post
    It's weird that some are saying the new album is less complex and has less quirky avant elements than past records, while everyone is praising Repetitions pt. 1, which is even less avant-proggy and more simple (it's proggy, but has barely any avant-prog, and the arrangements are much simplier than on the last record). In terms of songwriting and arrangements, Leaving California is in line with Repetitions pt. 2, which is their most complex album, but with a lighter feel, more straightforward melodies at times and a tighter approach. It's also probably their most virtuoso on an instrumental level (especially the guitar parts). I would put these impressions on the fact that the album is 10 minutes shorter that the others, and lacks the kinda experimental interludes some of them had. It's really 7 different songs which all have their own flavor, which isn't something they've done before.
    Very nice comment. I agree with it all, and good call on the shorter duration and its effect on the listener, the absence of interludes, the virtuoso guitar playing (central to the album's musical narrative) and the overall lighter atmosphere.

  22. #22
    I think it's the best thing they have ever done. Just listen to the sophistication of the arrangements! I hear a lot of Ives and Van Dyke Parks, especially in the orchestrations/voicings and the sonorities that are produced as a result. I still believe their greatest arrangement/performance is the Vic Chesnutt piece they did entitled, "Chinaberry Tree". It is so rich.

  23. #23
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Last edited by Steve F.; 1 Week Ago at 01:12 PM.
    Steve F.

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    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  24. #24

  25. #25
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Ooops! Fixed!
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

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