“The sixth album by JOTC and, well, I keep saying this about each of their releases, but they've really knocked it out of the park with this one. I don't know how to describe something like "Miracle Car Wash" as anything other than...well...miraculous.
If avant-progressive that doesn't sound like any other band playing avant-progressive is your thing, then this is absolutely your thing. Hugely recommended.”
“...Through 10 years of recordings, Jack ‘O The Clock is now established as a category unto themselves. The music often takes the form of complex, contrapuntal pieces with beautiful interplay between the hammer dulcimer, bassoon, violin, and guitar. The intertwined themes build and meander, but maintain a solid grounding that never quite extends into the pure avant-garde. On top of this are Waitkus’ poignant vocals, adding to the melancholic atmosphere.
“Listening to Jack ‘O The Clock invokes a twisted view of America post World War II – or perhaps projects that view to the rural blight of today. Lyrically, the group does not make a statement in particular. They offer no positions, polemics, nor solutions. Instead, their songs explore dark slices of life, unusual and disturbing happenings involving people both ordinary and strange. This unassuming and non-pretentious approach is a welcome contrast to today’s screaming-head social commentators.”
"Outsider Songs" is a collection of cover songs run through the Jack O' The Clock cheese grater and lovingly re-assembled over the course of 2014 and early 2015.
These are all songs I or another member of the band have known and loved for years, decades in many cases, and have never tired of hearing. We put them together intuitively, favoring memory and emotional impressions over fidelity to the original, which resulted in a range of interpretations, from fairly orthodox to practically re-composed.
The project was already well underway before I realized that the songs' subjects are all, in one way or another, outsiders attempting to make sense of and function in a world that doesn't exactly meet their needs. I love this, and it's probably no coincidence that a lot of the characters in my own songs could be called outsiders as well.
The songs themselves, though by prominent artists, are mostly outsiders too, arguably under-sung gems hiding away in the corner of an album somewhere. And while we're at it, this has never been a particularly “inside” band either, for better or worse: we feel more like DIY mendicants banging away on the gate of a walled city. We can't help but feel most at home with the weirdos.
“Jack of the Clock just seem to go from strength to strength, one of the most original and compelling groups I know playing some amazing compositions that seem to tread effortlessly between Van Dyke Parks and folk music from an as yet unidentified culture, while making all the things you've always thought of as difficult sound as effortless and natural as breathing.”
I am really at a loss to provide any convenient comparisons or reference points to anything else that a reader may have heard...The lyrics are every bit as interesting as their music...All taken, this is some of the most stunningly original music that one is likely to hear, on this world or any other.
Parts are surprisingly melodic and at times even quasi-ambient down the road of "majestic junk folk" — the band's self-stuck label — the album's twelve songs travel. The quintet, a group of skilled players led by multi-instrumentalist Damon Waitkus, takes itself just seriously enough to produce cohesive bits of music that shun conventional three-act, verse-chorus structures that could also be billed "hillbilly funk" or "backwater fusion." And isn't this what fits the "progressive" bill? ...the perfect album for the discerning listener looking for something different yet not alienating.”