Home Read Albums Of The Week: Clockwise On Fire | Clockwise On Fire

Albums Of The Week: Clockwise On Fire | Clockwise On Fire

If you like your duos dynamic, diverse & defiantly demented, these psychedelic Philadelphians & their freaky, funky, freewheeling full-length are right up your alley.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Sound flows freely like conversation. It unfurls in real-time, moving and changing with each subsequent statement and reply. Similarly, Clockwise On Fire mold a living and breathing hybrid of psychedelic rock, progressive, funk, and alternative, shapeshifting with each key change. The musical union of longtime friends and collaborators Tim Arnold (Good Old War) and Brian Lynch consistently surprises as it blurs the lines between eloquent songcraft and instrumental fluidity, sitting still only long enough to incite chase.

The Philadelphia duo channel a spirit of unbridled freedom on their 2021 independent self-titled debut album. “Our process is simply free,” observes Arnold. “There are no wrong notes. There’s no pressure. There’s no negativity. There’s no template. It’s just such an expressive environment where anything goes. Lynch agrees. “We’ve always had chemistry, but we never hunkered down, focused, and done something original together until now. It’s happening organically after all of these years as friends. We’re pretty hyped about it.”

During middle school in the Philly suburbs, Brian and Tim regularly played music for hours on end, experimenting, improvising, and exploring sounds at a formative age. They made the most of every basement jam and talent show throughout high school. Life carried the musicians down separate roads. Tim co-founded Good Old War, toured everywhere, and released four full-length albums and four EPs in addition to playing with the likes of Anthony Green (Circa Survive) and more. Meanwhile, Brian performed in various local bands. During 2017, the musicians reconnected and launched a Primus cover band, Los Bastardos, performing an annual gig at Triumph Brewing Co. in New Hope, PA.

In 2019, Tim had moved back to Philadelphia, and Brian sent him a track on a whim. “It was really cool,” recalls Tim. “He started sending me all of these songs, and it was fun to build the beats and put lyrics and synths on them. It naturally evolved from there. We also had some friends who really encouraged us to keep going.”

Even in the face of the pandemic, Tim and Brian locked into an unbreakable groove. Tim contributed drums, percussion, synths, keyboards, and vocals, while Brian held down guitar and sang as well. Once the music took shape, they enlisted Jason Cupp (Maps and Atlases, American Football, Milk Carton Kids, Good Old War) for mixing. Meet their inimitable interplay drives on the album-opener and first single Dig. Funkified guitar weaves in and out of a head-nodding beat as the vocals lock on to the eerily chantable hook, “If you want, you can dig a grave for my love,” before a sidewinder solo soars. “It’s not a full poem, but I pasted lines from different pieces where they fit vocally,” Tim reveals. “I wanted it to be a melodic pattern of words. It’s not singer-songwritery. Instead, it’s more a vibe sonically. It could be dark or light, but hopefully, you take your own meaning from it.”

Another standout, What Will You Forget hinges on a quirky circus-ready rhythm ripe for a Looney Tunes montage before an off-kilter guitar races alongside a cathartic vocal fit from Anthony Green. “We decided to get a little weirder,” grins Brian. Then, there’s Trapped. A head-nodding riff whips around video game-style synth transmissions as the bass bolts down the groove. Simultaneously, ominous vocals echo punctuated by swooning high register. “These lyrics actually have a narrative,” Tim states. “It’s basically about the apocalypse and being present for when it all goes down. You’re surviving these catastrophic events and reaching the end of the world.”
Ultimately, Clockwise On Fire are now welcoming everyone into this weird, wild, and wonderful musical conversation between two old friends.

“Tim is my brother,” Brian says. “I admire his playing so much, and this is something we had always hoped to do. I have faith this will be something very important for both of us.”

Clockwise On Fire means life to me,” concludes Tim. “I’m putting everything into Clockwise On Fire. We want to nurture it, grow it, and create as much as possible. We’re just enjoying ourselves and making music for the love of it for everyone to share.”