Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Puerto Rico Flowers on Fan Death Records

Puerto Rico Flowers is the latest solo project from John Sharkey III of Clockcleaner, and what exactly is going on in this single is up for debate.
I'm not that familiar with Clockcleaner, but enough to know it sounds nothing like this. I also know that he's happy to fuck with peoples expectations... reading about Clockcleaner opening for Negative Approach they covered one of their songs as slowly as possible, trying to incite some kind of riot. Wikipedia also says something about Babylon Rules in a sort of Big Black Goth genre, so maybe this is some sort of extension of that idea as a solo artist?
Or like Cold Cave, did he take Clockcleaner as far as it could go and the only thing that makes sense aesthetically is to translate the punk into a cold wave goth?

"Voice of Love" on the A-Side starts out with a droning background synth for fuzzed out bass and drums to come in. The vocals are mixed way up front and John's vocals are that back of the throat, slightly affected classic new wave sound...Christ it's reminding me of OMD, some kind of sincere stab me in the face and end it, uber emotional direction.

The B-Side "When your Lonely Heart Breaks" is a Neil Young cover, which John manages to appropriately give the full goth treatment. The arrangement continues ultra minimal with ethereal Cure synth and distorted bass plodding along...it must be half speed of the original. John sings in a frontman baritone, like Mattress...he really turns it into a Love Will Tear us Apart sort of anthem. It's a great cover choice, and takes the song in a completely new direction...the best kind of cover. You appreciate the core writing of Neil and then get a sense of how it translates into an entirely new genre. His singing fades away from the mic at points, it sounds like he's taking this seriously, but I can't help but think of this kind of new wave character in the style of Dave Gahan with his sunglasses in the studio, holding one side of the headphones to his head and laying it on.

I mean, god bless this guy if he can get away with going in whatever direction strikes him...this no wave synth stuff can take itself way to seriously...they could use a dose of someone fucking with the whole genre, seriously or not. I guess no one knows where this leaves Clockcleaner, or where this solo project is going....Get this one from Fan Death Records.

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