Posted on May 5th, 2011 (10:00 am) by Michael Cirigliano

Save the Clocktower is one of those bands that appear so knowledgeable, so amiable, and so hard-working, that you would hate to disappoint them by not liking their music. Unfortunately for the Chicago band, that is just the case: a mix of shoegaze, electro-rock, and Southern rock, their sophomore-LP Carousel fails to find a voice, or even a substantially cohesive idea. That’s not to say that the songs themselves are not of good quality—individually, there are some great moments found on Carousel, but few of the songs sound like they were written, produced, or even performed by the same band. The best albums should always play like song cycles, not merely a string of singles—something this trio should take to heart on their next album.

Save the Clocktower plays its game of Jekyll and Hyde by constantly maneuvering between dance floor grooves and Coldplay-style rock. Lead single “Drip” is a wash of crunchy dance beats and layers of synth that weave underneath lead singer Greg Newton’s powerful baritone. Admittedly the finest element of the band’s sound, Newton is able to move from a gravelly and stern lower register to a warm, resonant and powerful upper register [UPDATE: Save the Clocktower actually have two lead singers, Greg Newton and Sean Paras. Greg does high, Sean goes low]. What initially seems like a solid opening to the album, “Drip” is immediately called into question by the follow-up track, “You Got Me”—a straight-forward rock song that strips the textures back to the classic drum-guitar combination. Gone are the dance beats and synths that we were just starting to get into, only to be replaced by acoustic elements and a slower paced rhythm. From there, the trio continues to flip-flop between these two sound worlds, ultimately finding their most questionable lapse in taste during “They”, incorporating a casual Rockabilly groove with lyrics that would be too saccharine for even Coldplay to use: “Did you find your way back home today? Did you love in a way to find your own way?”

It’s always disappointing seeing a new band with a lot to say, only to realize that they can’t find the right filter in which to say it. While Save the Clocktower shows an ability to create catchy, synth-rock tracks and classic rock music, their inability to fuse these two elements in a cohesive manner ultimately makes Carousel an unsatisfying listen. However, should the band decide to completely move into one singular direction at some point, then watch out—we’re going to have a damn fine album on our hands.

Track List:

1. Drip
2. You Got Me
3. Far Apart
4. They
5. The One Thing
6. Sinking Ship
7. Taped Noise
8. Take Me There
9. Your Pain
10. Headphones

Save The Clocktower, Carousel
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

55 / 100
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