I came across Overclockwise (all one word?) about six months ago while trawling facebook for more new Barnsley bands. They were one of a bzillion bands that form at uni and go on to play local venues linked to Barnsley College and used for showcases such as Walkabout. However, Overclockwise have exceeded expectations and have already gone on to play venues in Sheffield, Leeds, Salford and Manchester.
Back in September they quietly released a three track single of demo material called Noise, Joy and Lemonade. The most obvious thing about the band then wasn’t left the time signatures or even the fact they had covered Girls Just Wanna Have Fun; just more so the unusual and original vocal tone of Jonathon Binns. It was like Josh Homme throttling Neal Hannon. I couldn’t quite get my ears round him, and wasn’t sure whether I liked his voice or not – often a make or break for me when it comes to a band. However, musically, the original tracks were fuzz heavy and extremely melodious – definitely one of the more original bands to come of out Barnsley in recent years.
And so now it’s the end of 2013 and we have the pleasure of a debut EP. Have You Ever Looked Up? consists of five tracks and from the off it whiffs of something much heavier and darker. Open Up and Let The Devil In is tribal drums and bass, minimal guitar and sounds like it’s been yanked from the Tool song book and as a result, the vocals slot straight in smoothly and blend much better with that brooding tone. With an almost stoner-rock vibe, the non-chorus is more of a ritualistic chant – yet still catchy though. When Binns bellows ‘I Will Consume’, followed by the crashing guitars, I’m worried they’ve peaked before I’ve even heard the other four tracks. Four and a half minutes in you think the song’s finished, only to have it build up from nothing into an alfuckingmighty wall of sound and then calm… A magnificent six and a half minutes. I listen back immediately.
This Carousel kicks off with a prog rock disco beat. Here I’m back to getting used to that voice – their weapon and their Marmite. It’s an unusual juxtaposition – and almost crooning baritone over the space-age guitars zapping away like some awesome gamaray. And then there’s Mr. Centrefold, the nearest thing here to a ballad here – and I’m wishing Binns would push that voice even further. Deeper even, because in parts I can almost hear something close to Mark Lanegan’s The Gravedigger’s Song.
Track 4, The Drums, is back to the darkness of the title track and it’s clear now that this is a band of two halves, and I know which I prefer. Closing track, Swallow is as prog as you’re going to get here. Agit rhythms with guitars and bass dragging you off in different directions, but then coming together to collide into a nice, noisy ball fire and fuzz. And the end.
Considering three months ago I was honestly indifferent, I have now found a band that I’m going to get behind. I’m really interested to see where they take things next. I’d love to see them go down the darker route as I think that would suite their sound more, but to be honest, I’m not sure that Overclockwise know yet what they want to do. What’s great here is that they definitely have the musical ability, the knack for writing a decent tune, along with an impressive and original vocalist, and that means they could pretty much take it in whatever direction they damn well choose. I hope I’m able to catch these guys on the live circuit soon.
If you want to here or download the EP, or the previous demos, then visit overclockwise.bandcamp.com
Keep up to date with the band by following facebook.com/Overclockwiseband