Who knew that the grizzliest, burliest of bass lines could, in fact, be sexy as well? Of course, in order to make sense of that declaration, it’s vital that we reinterpret, nay, reinvent the term “sexy” as filtered through the logic and law of Clockcleaner. The world of said band, is a nether region in which citizens live happily with reversed moral courtesies. A living, vibrant naked body is vomit-inducing, while a corpse is the ultimate and most popular sexual thrill. The same would go for a slap on the face, whereas a gentle embrace is cause for anxiety and alarm. Grotesque is alive and well, thank fucking Christ—or maybe not.
Babylon Rules, simply put, is beastly but imbued with stark grooves that give way to the band’s charm. It just so happens that Clockcleaner’s charm is comfortably akin to an amputee peepshow girl. This is further established with the adolescent Nick Cave croons and grunts while cavernous guitars screech against cold concrete walls, fuzz bass lines rattle the base of the skull and the drums palpate the heart. It’s not easy to tell what frontman John Sharkey is trying to convey. But if titles like “Vomiting Mirrors,” “Daddy Issues,” and “Human Pigeon” are any indication—not to mention the creepier benign titles like “Man Across the Street”—it’s not for the social drinker or blissfully ignorant newlyweds.
This has proved a thoroughly fun listen. I’ve never been so stimulated by noise rock since hearing the more aggressive, but nonetheless tuneful Hammerhead. This power trio of ambiguously totalitarian charisma may not truly possess the dysfunctional aura of their music, but they are perverts in their own right that depict the kind of human nature that’s so despised in this absurd mainstream rehash of moral correctness, that anyone looking so hard to escape will find no problem sinking in their cold-blooded undertow.
MP3: “Vomiting Mirrors”