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Clockcleaner 

Babylon Rules (Load)

Wednesday, Dec 19 2007
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Clockcleaner's second full-length album came out in the late fall, just in time to purge the last of 2007's positivity. The Philly trio spews bilious cynicism and doomy bass lines from the start: "New in Town" is a threat that rockets from the crypt with sarcastic Jack the Ripper howls (Don't come inside me! I'm new in town!) and acerbic guitar noise. From there, titles like "Daddy Issues" and "Vomiting Mirrors" only hint at the malice these gothic dirges evoke, with the songs' mid-tempo pace and plodding drumbeats jelling the thoroughly creepy vibe. Babylon is one part Cramps, one part Nick Cave, and two parts the Grifters (specifically, their '94 evil spirit stomp "Black Fuel Incinerator" off Crappin' You Negative). It all adds up to a bottom-heavy stupor, a corrosive mass that still allows for plenty of tuneful melodies.

Of course, the band gets its name in the paper for being as abrasive onstage as on record (frontman John Sharkey III is no stranger to provocative insults). But Clockcleaner's antics are less interesting than its annihilating musical aesthetic, which mixes venom and volume for a Babylon overrun with thrillingly negative energy.

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Jennifer Maerz

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