Huh. That was interesting.

When a reviewer receives material from an unsigned band, it's a good idea not to let expectations rise too high. There's usually a reason that the band is unsigned, and it has little to do with not yet being discovered. 

That's why I approached an album by a Toronto group calling itself Clockwise with a bit of trepidation. I wasn't anticipating much. 

But this one surprised me, so much so that I can say, "Where have these guys been?"

The album is tightly played, beautifully produced, and has some cracking songs on it. As a matter of fact, the whole album is consistently nice. 

That's not to say it's for all tastes, but you'll find that it's for most. The best comparison I can give is : Imagine a Canadian Teenage Fanclub, only, y'know, not so wimpy. Taking the sort of classic rock tropes that have been trotted out by various and sundry in recent years (Kings Of Leon, I'm looking at you), Clockwise has an honest, gritty sound that has been polished to a sheen.

Opener "Opposites Attract" sets the tone for the rest of the record : lovingly harmonized vocals, liquid guitar, and a rhythm section that paces it all wonderfully. 

Mind you, there's not a ton of variety here; when I say the opener sets the tone, that's exactly what I mean. Guitar, bass, drums, and melodious vocals dominate each song, to the exclusion of anything else. You won't hear a keyboard here, or even very much additional percussion. 

But none of that matters, because the limited palette is applied to songs that use it to its fullest. There's not a bad tune here. 

That said, allow me to point out some highlights : 

"Surrender" starts with electrified acoustic guitar, and quickly gives way to wah-wah and a pounding rhythm. This song even quotes a song with the same title by Cheap Trick, with which there are some stylistic similarities. 

"Boomtown" is a rock 'n' roll paean to modern living : "Say hello to your neighbors who live three feet away". Again, the vocals, reminiscent of the best of 1980s rock, turn the song to a bit more than rock, and closer to pop. 

"Upside Down" is the longest track on the album, and it deserves the space. An anthemic tune that's done with a sneer, it's a bit slower and meaner than the other songs. 

"Water On the Moon" is a bit silly on purpose, but features a driving guitar rhythm. 

It should be pointed out that there's little innovation here, but that's not important. What Clockwise does, it does very well, and sometimes that's the relevant part of music. 

It's a pleasant surprise to receive material that's this good. If you love classic rock, power pop, or have fond memories of new wave, you'll like this. 

I give Clockwise's "Faders On Stun" an 8 on the England Swings scale of 1-10.

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