Couch –  Watch Clark (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It’s quite easy to see where Watch Clark’s influences lie, that 80’s synth dance groove, the darker tones seeping in from the gothic shadowlands, the sound of nineties club grooves and outlying industrial scenes. But everyone has their inspirations even if they are not always worn so openly on their sleeves. And there are much worse places to look to for guidance if you ask me. And even if such past sounds infuse their way into the music it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it and the way that Watch Clark does it is fine by me.

With two albums under his belt already, Paul Furio returns to his nome de la musique for another outing fashioning danceable, political, personal, socially aware and honestly direct music. Each album has told a story, less a concept album and more a series of vague diary entries fashioned into songs, the personal becoming the universal, the intimate becoming the relatable. Couch is no exception and evolved to reflect relationships dissolving, careers ending and other life changing events all set to a backdrop of the America’s political spiralling towards an authoritarian nightmare.

Tanzflache channels the more industrial dance floor sounds, hypnotic, energetic, the German language delivering the lyrics adds a suitable harsh edge. Class Actress tipping a nod to a more mainstream-accessible sound such as Depeche Mode and swansong Choose showing a more delicate, dreamlike side to the album with it’s understated piano lines and drifting beauty. Cup of Bitter Fate is a gorgeous blend of arabesque tones and swirling atmospherics before pushing on into Vangelisian musical territory.

Lark Remy is to be found on Weakness bringing the requisite tones of longing and regret to bear as her voice at first echoes the vocal line before soaring above it in emotive, heart aching salvos. Symbion Project’s Kasson Crooker can again be found behind the desk.

The album’s inspirations may be drawn from the late 20th century in many cases but the overall direction of travel is forward into the future. Just because you are using similar sonic building blocks as past heroes, doesn’t mean that you are going to sound the same and Couch is someone learning from the past, evolving the music of the present and building the sound of the future.

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