Clock Hands Strangle – Distaccati (CD)

On their second full length, Florida’s Clock Hands Strangle still manages to keep the sound indefinable. Compared to everyone from the Meat Puppets to Death Cab for Cutie, the songs swirl from influence to influence, many times within the same track. The result is not bad, just not terribly original either, sounding a bit like an MP3 player stuck on shuffle. When focused, on tracks like the more rock-oriented “As Is” or the plodding “New York City,” the band shows a lot of promise.

At other times, though Clock Hands Strangle just gets lost in a maze of its own influences (not sure if the calculated Dylan harmonica and strums on “To a Meteorite in a Museum” is the band just fucking with critics or just a really blatant rip off). Lyrically and thematically, the album tends to walk a very thin line between pretentious and curious (“A Stone Questions It’s Sculptor,” for example), often falling more into the pretentious camp. Not a bad effort, but a little restraint would go a long way.

Top tracks: “New York City” and “As Is”

Ratings: 6.8 out of 10

Clock Hands Strangle – Distaccati/CD/2009/11tracks/Chocolate Lab Records/ www.myspace.com/clockhandsstrangle

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