Watch Clark – Couch

photo by Christy Wiseman

The sound of Watch Clark is suggested as being akin to the Seattle indie goth/industrial scene of the early 2000’s but definitely there is also an eighties synth pop inspiration which richly flavours its imagination. It is a fusion which goes to make new album, Couch, one ear grabbing and imagination slab of contagion and very easy to recommend to all electronica embracing ears.

Watch Clark is the solo project of Seattle based musician Paul Furio, a former member of Static Engine and SMP. Founded in 2012, Watch Clark released debut album Perfect Imitation the following year with its well-received successor, First Week of Winter unveiled in 2017. Produced, mixed and mastered by Kasson Crooker (Freezepop, Symbion Project, ELYXR), Couch is the striking successor very easy to see pushing Watch Clark into a far bigger spotlight.

A collection of songs themed by a reflection on relationship, political, and life turmoil, Couch immediately had ears and appetite hooked with opener Misery. The blooming of keys and heavy pulse of rhythmic enticement openly wears a Depeche Mode influence but as swiftly the track reveals its own individual character around the magnetic tones of Furio. Industrial dissonance breaks upon the melodic landscape throughout to escalate the potency of drama within the unapologetically catchy and rousing affair.

The outstanding start to the release is matched by the infectious body and swing of the following Class Actress. Like a blend of B Movie romanticism with Kudzu post punk shadows within a Visage-esque croon, the track like its predecessor is pure contagiousness, its instinctive bounce manna to appetite and body before The Sound of Robots Pooping parades its industrial nurtured dance. As dystopian in breath as it is warmly infectious, the predominately instrumental track proved as much a spark for the imagination as an incitement for hips.

Diversity is a potent trait within Couch and potently shows its creative worth with next up Tansfläch, the track an electro industrial incitement bearing the Neue Deutsche Welle tempting of a D.A.F. alongside the cold wave theatre of a Kraftwerk, while The Darkest Place adds its own individual new wave lined proposal in the varied mix with contagious appetite and dexterity. In voice and sound, Furio lights up ears and speaker with a virulent touch which is hard to ignore in movement let alone pleasure.

The following Cross the Chasm has compelling darkness in its heart and touch which only accentuates its bold almost invasive yet haunting quality while The Act of Wanting offers a flirtatious slice of electro rock which again has energies and limbs hooked like a puppeteer across its purposeful stroll. Each again only adds further sides to the varied electronic prism of the album which Math Grenade emulates with its teutonic breath upon industrial dissonance. Again dystopian hues explore thoughts from within the dark infection and once more Watch Clark had attention glued before the equally arousing Get to Win added its particular electro punk grip on ears.

Featuring a vocal duet with Lark Remy in its haunting sigh, Weakness made for easy captivation. Though the sounds around them only hugged satisfaction it was the vocal prowess of Furio and Remy which most seduced and the way the production alternated between moments when each voice has slight dominance in their union.

Completed by the dark infested instrumental of The Cup of Bitter Fate and the melancholy soaked balladry of Choose, two tracks which lingered to haunt the imagination once sharing their final breaths, Couch is an album which provides a rousing fusion of nostalgia and new imagination which as mentioned earlier can only be suggested as a definite exploration for all with a taste for electronic pleasure.

Couch is out now; available @ https://watchclark.bandcamp.com/album/couch

https://www.facebook.com/WatchClarkMusic   https://twitter.com/WatchClarkBand

 Pete RingMaster 15/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Kudzu – Defeated

With a sound as eclectic and unpredictable as it is ravenously catchy, US synth pop duo Kudzu have just released their new album, Defeated. It is an infestation of infectious hooks, flirtatious synths, and rousing escapades but to tag it merely as synth pop is an injustice to its diversity, the album a stirring web of post punk, electro punk, industrial and more across its seriously magnetic body.

Springfield based Kudzu consists of Seth Goodwin (vocals, synth, and drum programming) and Mark Gillenwaters (vocals and guitar). Inspirations to the project include the likes of Tears For Fears, The Cure, Spectrum, Guided by Voices, Sympathy Nervous, and This Heat but as suggested, their sound has a much broader tapestry which is as bred in the seventies/eighties synth landscape as the creative now. It makes for a proposition which is as familiar as it is boldly fresh and one massive treat of a listen.

It opens with the punk assault of Some Cops, a track bursting from its electronic shimmer with zeal and urgency soaked in creative dissonance. At the same time it is a virulently catchy incitement, its fuzzy fumes leaving the senses as woozy as the bone shuddering beats. Like Calling All Astronauts meets Artery at its core, the song equally embraces psych rock winds in its contagious turbulence to provide Defeated with one ear grabbing start.

Straight away the variety of the album is at play as the following and quite superb No Backbone breaks the dividing peace with electro pulses straight out of the early Mute Records catalogue. Instantly thoughts of bands like The Normal arise but are soon pushed to the background as guitar spun melodies and harmonic vocals tease and caress respectively.  The hook Gillenwaters casts with his strings is simply delicious, a psyche enslaving lure soon backed by the darker pulsation of keys and the snapping resonance of rhythms; kind of like a fusion of B-Movie, The Cure, and Modern English yet unique from start to finish.

The album’s title track brings a scuzzier breath to ears; its post punk irritability echoed in the John Lydon textured vocals but again there is a repetitious coaxing teasing and tempting at the centre of the fuzz ball which necessitates only submission to its infectious demands. As its predecessor, it brings another hue to Defeated as does next up Burn Yourself, though its electro punk surge is akin to the opener. With the increasingly magnetic vocals almost gliding over the tides of noise springing from synths and guitar, it was so easy to be swept up in the raw yet skilfully nurtured arms of the track as thoughts colluded with its lyrical insight. Defeated is described as “a reaction to mounting disappointments and frustrations with increasingly frustrating and disappointing realities” and with intimacy and a worldly observation its often dissonant words hit the spot whilst almost arguing with the rousing catchiness of their vehicles.

The mesmeric Balking the Grave is next, the song a riveting post/gothic punk shadow bound serenade which almost seeps under the skin with its slow drawl and bordering concussive clang while Sleep in Disguise is a boisterous slice of synth pop/new wave with the scent of bands like Mr.Kitty, OMD, and early Human League to its bright if slightly caustic breeze.  Both tracks border the irresistible yet still get slightly outshine by One Purpose with its flirtatious Blancmange like melodies and climate.

One definite peak in the lofty heights of Defeated is followed by the ear grabbing proposal of When You Were Mine. The song is almost like a weave of the best traits of its predecessors, a tenacious pop song with attitude and seduction in its raw charms which manages to grumble and serenade in the same breath before leaving to allow B.I.Y.E. to bring things to a transfixing close. With its cold scenery and instinctive bounce, the song merges the alluring traits of a Joy Division and Modern Eon in its industrially edged and melodically draped canter. It is a fine end to an album which we are finding hard to shake off as new propositions to look at build up. That is never a bad aspect to have and as Defeated is so enjoyable we are certainly not complaining.

Defeated is out now via Push & Pull Records; available @ https://kudzukudzukudzu.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kudzuspringfield/    https://twitter.com/kudzuzudukudzu

Pete RingMaster 09/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright