This article first appeared on The AU Review.
The latest EP from Australian-born, LA based artist Clockwise, Dancing World, is an unlikely arrangement. I say unlikely, because despite being labelled “Indie-Pop” on the ol’ Wikipages, if you listened to their collection here you would immediately peg the outfit as electro or synth-pop or another of those new-aged genres that continue to pop up in the wave of innovative, non-traditional acts that spout keys, synths and digital effects as the main feature in their musical arsenal. There’s a tinge of traditional indie or folk that shines through what is predominantly a dance record. It’s unique enough to earn it a tip of the cap, and a cheeky tag to keep tabs on as they continue to develop into a powerhouse act in years to come.
Strings permeate the introduction of this EP, in the form of the title track “Dancing World”, welcoming us to a five-track that is elegantly rough and streaked with attitude when combined in full. Vocals from the man behind the moniker, Andy Clockwise, spit with persuasiveness in between the staccato plucking of strings, samples of static guitar and wispy electronic samples, all contributing to make this a solid opener, setting the tone for the rest of the EP.
The deep, grumbling electronic bass lines in “Hopeless” take us into the urban soundscape of LA. As the moody vocal lines carry us through each verse, it contrasts wildly against the ethereal falsetto female vocals that break between the verses and choruses. It’s a tune spouting a theme of giving up with bravado. The type of messy, out-of-control stage before the clean slate, complete with beautiful falling chime synth chopping up the second verse. It was a good choice for the single on the EP, as it’s easily the most likeable and recognisable song on the EP. The outsider, “Murphy’s Law” begins with the best parts of indie. Carrying on with sounds that we may have originally heard from acts like Two Door Cinema Club if they collaborated with legends like Talking Heads. It’s a musical journey with a clear beginning, hardships and a solidifying end.
Every EP has to have the token softer song, although not always an acoustic ballad as such. Dancing World has two. “Steam Dreams” chugs along at a slow pace with emotive energy and those brilliant female vocals here to help again. It has a very old school feel that’s familiar and folk-like while shifting the format enough for the modern day music lover to take notice. We end on another slower track, a seven-minute doozy entitled “War Story Part One” (Part Two TBC). This concluding song builds on the whole electro-folk thing Clockwise have going on and absolutely nail it to the wall with their stamp firmly printed. If you stripped back the electronics it could’ve been a folk-epic back in the day, and it’s uncanny how much it kind of sounds like “You Are My Sunshine”.
Although I feel like the title “Dancing World” is a little misleading for an EP that is mostly crafty, delicious electronic folk tunes, some of it does have that head-bopping feel and I guess that’s what Clockwise has done with this effort. It’s a collection of positive, electronically tinged, folk / indie tunes that have an obvious feeling of a personal journey, or a personal state of mind. Whether you interpret it as your own or stick with the narrative, after finishing this EP beginning to end, you’ll have no troubles stepping into Andy Clockwise’s Dancing World.
8.1 / 10
Dancing World is available now for purchase through iTunes or streaming with Spotify.