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Jack O’ the Clock

Repetitions of the Old City - I

Review by Gary Hill
This is a very impressive album. It has so many shifts and changes throughout. There are a number of epic pieces with shorter numbers interspersed. Often this lands near folk prog. That said there are things that are closer to fusion, bits of world music and much more. This is a diverse and compelling musical journey from start to finish.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
I Am So Glad to Meet You

Although there are some atmospherics laced onto this at times, it is basically a wall of sound acapella number. It's reasonably short.

The Old Man and the Table Saw
This comes up gradually with world music and more traditional old school prog combining nicely. As it works forward it gets more fully oriented in the prog elements, but it has a more folk prog vibe to it. There are things that call to mind fusion, too. I really dig the violin on this piece. The opening powerhouse instrumental jam runs through a number of shifts and changes. It takes up almost half of this over ten minute cut. It drops to a mellower section for the vocals to enter. The cut continues shifting and evolving from there, eventually working up to more powered up sounds. There is some rather funky stuff later in the piece. This is so cool. It's so dynamic and ever growing and changing.
When the Door Opens, It Opens on Everything
Acoustic guitar brings this into being. That holds the cut for a while. Then a new element heralds the entrance of the vocals. The music starts to evolve from there. There is some cool, southern fried sound built into some of this, but it's definitely full on progressive rock. There are some pretty cool explorations on this. The violin again shines. That said, there are some portions of the piece where the bass work really impresses me. Given that I'm a bass player first and foremost, it makes sense that I probably notice bass more than others do, but I'll bet it would be impressive for plenty of listeners. This thing has a lot of different flavors and journeys built into it.
Epistemology / Even Keel

The last couple songs were both over ten minutes long. This one at under six seems very short by comparison. It comes in gradually with trippy sounds leading it out and gradually rising. As the one minute mark approaches this tentative music stops, and vocals start the cut unaccompanied. It eventually becomes more of a folk styled tune as the vocals continue to some bouncy music. There are some rather jazzy elements in the mix as this works forward.

.22, Or Denny Takes One for the Team
There is definitely a Celtic soft of vibe to the prog that starts this. The cut shifts quickly toward some uptempo fusion. This becomes quite an intriguing ride as it moves through shifts and changes. The blend of mellower and more rocking material on this is good. There are some bits of strangeness in the mix at times, too. I love the powered up jazzy jam later in the number.
Videos of the Dead
The dramatic prog meets jazz jam that starts this is classy. It drops back to a mellower motif for the entrance of the vocals. There are some particularly evocative parts on this number. It works through all kinds of changes and moods. It's another powerhouse prog cut.
Whiteout

This instrumental is rather bouncy, with some intriguing timing. It's a classy cut that feels like an introduction to the next piece.

Fighting the Doughboy
At over thirteen and a half minutes in length, this is the epic of the set. It has a lot of music that feels like the previous number. There are breaks to Zappa-like movements. This is a dynamic prog powerhouse that slips in and out of various movements, though. It does get a bit of a parental advisory on the lyrics. This is such an unusual and powerful piece of progressive rock really. It's perhaps not the most instantly accessible thing here, but it is one of the strongest cuts, really. If you don't like a section, just wait because it's sure to change soon. This cut has some of the coolest vocal parts, too.
After the Dive
I like this song. It has a weird sort of space music element over the top. That runs in contrast to the cool, pretty mainstream, folk prog kind of basis to much of the cut. This is so classic. It's a reasonably short number at around three and a half minutes in length.
 
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