[sic] Magazine

Clock Hands Strangle – Distaccati

I remember being early on the horse when music came to me. I lived many growing years witnessing great dead presidents but could only run imagination regarding some musical acts from vast venues distant. This privilege to have in the comfort of a chair and keyboard, a witness to the world, is something the youth can’t quite fathom. Yes, even the youngest can understand such gracious luck on my part but only the printing press surpasses this invention we now know and love, and hate.

I write of a download of music and word. For this reason I leave an alter ego at the audiophile entrance. He is rarely happy anyway.

Primus, Neil Young, Tom Petty, and even a little Jack White can be found in the cadence and vocal delivery of this lead singer Todd Portnowitz. I think you know the flavor, whining with a sprinkle of protest and honesty. Right off you either enjoy this type of vocal performance or find fatigue. If you take this as a put down, please refer to the successful iconic examples used and realize this is just a way of describing what jumps out at you with first listen. Energetic folk themes, grounded in a swirl of rocky earth and a twist of pop with the occasional brass and wind instrument that shows authentic writing ability, is this second album from a group that wants you to stop and think.

Guitar work is accomplished, acoustically with, electric licks and eclectic selections throughout. Well placed instrumentally built substructures remind me of a gamut reaching from references of punk to those (few quirky great songs squeezed into most Led Zeppelin albums) that brought happy ease instead of tried rock.
The percussion and overall rhythm section is robust and builds throughout many of the tracks with a sense of performance and vigor. Tempo, rhythm and thematic changes are all easily hammered out with a consistent feeling of accomplished group effort. Strong musicianship is prevalent and quite evident throughout this entire production.

Lyrics are the true gold found. Words of question and posed answer are treasure here. Phrases and complete universes placed between the lines call my ear to bend. This poet has found friends and band members who deserve and can keep up with his raced and musically painted pictures. Many sing about life, New York and the biblical implications pertaining to such but few are so original. With Guthrie-llike eye these great words reflect a modern aspect, that many of life’s joys can only seek and, virtues covet.

This is another group of musicians here to prove Florida is not just filled with tourists and retirees. There is lots of energy and a sense of genuine dominion struck deeply in these footprints and in this album as a whole.

Do I love every single track on this eleven song tour of the human condition? Some are soft and vocally harmonized and a few are twisting lyrical strangulations of climb and sonic familiarity. All are from a gifted writer who knows his own music. We see a third album for sure. The address has been met and to hear these lyrics is to understand, with fixed and envious brow, gifted capacity.

The notes and lyrical parchments, held within these signatures that spell both folk music of old and rock to come, show not so translucently at first listen. Guitar driven, harmonically held, cleverly written snap shots with some of the best producers on board grow on you after a few spins.

One can hear the soul in the best of music. This is not your grandfather’s folk. The one true constant in our universe is change and with the spirit of Whitman and Dylan this band is living its talented progression.
Bon listen.

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