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A Magazine for Sheffield

The Madness Of Order

Step right up and venture forth in to the weird and wonderful world of The Cuckoo Clocks. With the release of their debut album The Madness of Order the listener is invited to join the band in a realm that is surreal and playful, a place where The Velvet Underground stand side by side with Simon & Garfunkel. The Cuckoo Clocks are a six-piece band founded by Paul Infanti and DJ/Producer Sophie Toes. Anchored by a talented rhythm section comprised of Andrew Flude (drums) and Nick Burke (bass), they combine a waggish charm with soft melodic touches.

The Madness of Order opens with 'Odd Per Clock', a song that resembles a strange and mysterious vaudeville cabaret. Pushed by an eerie slide-guitar the band convey the lines, 'We are the travelling band / The lost will find us / And beside us they stand.' Traces of Tom Waits can heard within the percussive sounds and the off-beat tone. What sets them apart is that the band has a strong sense of melody that can seem easier on the ear, as shown by the following track 'Falling Down', a gentle ballad that mixes piano and flute with some beautiful vocal harmonies.

The record may have many whimsical flourishes, but there is also a gritty undercurrent, which is highlighted by the song 'Mum's On Coke'. Strings and flute passages gradually rise and fall to emphasize the lyrics 'Mum's on coke / Just wanna party / Dad just rather stay at home / And watch TV with the kids.' The words are delivered with pathos and brutal honesty. Fragments of artists such as Julian Cope and Robyn Hitchcock soon spring to mind; figures who have managed throughout their careers to marry the real with the absurd.

The Cuckoo Clocks have succeeded in creating a bizarre and enticing sound, but like many debut albums The Madness of Order has an overall lack of stand out material. 'Odd Per Clock' and 'Mum's On Coke' are both brilliant tracks, but this level of quality isn't present throughout. The majority of the record is mainly mid-tempo which also means the music grows on the listener rather than grabbing hold of them. This band definitely show glimpses of brilliance and I look forward to hearing their progression across any future releases.