Of Clocks & Clouds Bring Their Brooding Bombast to the East Village

by delarue

Drugs, death and a persistent unease permeate Of Clocks & Clouds‘ new album Better Off, streaming at Bandcamp. On one level, those themes have been done to death over the years. On the other, the band has an absolutely unique sound, blending moody, intricately orchestrated European stadium rock with psychedelia, a little garage rock and hints of metal. Another cool thing about them is that they play instrumentals as well as vocal numbers. They’re playing the album release show at the downstairs space at Webster Hall on July 16 at 8 PM; cover is $10.

The album’s brief, hypnotic overture, Burn a Hole rises out of vintage video game blips and bleeps to a synthy, gothic pulse. She Had to Go makes trip-hop out of a reverbtoned 60s dark garage rock tune, then the guitars and bass reach toward metallic heights, a portrait of a femme fatale. “The cocaine fix exploding in her eyes…wasting all your precious time, the lies she told me somehow got to you,” frontman/guitarist Joe Salgo recounts.

When She’s High blends dub reggae touches into its gracefully tumbling groove, then builds to an anthemic scramble propelled by bassist Caravaggio Loria and drummer Ross Procaccio, eventually hitting a deliciously macabre, swirling peak. Likewise, the instrumental Open Heart Failure grows from moody reflecting-pool sonics to a majestically pounding motorik theme. Another Life is a weird mashup of the Police and hair-metal, then Komorebi, another instrumental, goes in a far more successful and cinematic direction with the same theme.

The album’s title track blends those atmospherics into a brooding, slowly swaying anthem tailor-made for smoke machines and one foot up on the monitor. Don’t write these guys off as mallternative: there’s a lot of creativity here. It’s easy to imagine them going even further in a psychedelic direction as they grow.