Friends Without Names
Hovering somewhere between Ariel Pink's creepo energy and Django Django's stylish eccentricity, Irish songwriter Paul Mangan manages to turn walking synth lines into menacing symphonies on his debut, Friends Without Names. Recorded under the moniker Clockwork Orchestra, Mangan relies heavily on archaic 8-bit samples, deadpan vocals and idiosyncratic time signatures to craft a dozen anxious anthems. Although Mangan lends his voice to all but two tracks, the overall atmosphere that makes up Friends Without Names comes straight from Clockwork Orchestra's breakneck musical pacing. By the time the LP enters its mid-point, similarly constructed tracks like "As the Whirligig Spins," "Strawberries and Blueberries" and "Talking to the Flowers" begin to bleed together. But the saving grace arrives at the album's tail-end as Mangan openly flirts with hip-hop rhythms, choral piano melodies and microhouse tinges, making Friends Without Names a truly schizophrenic listen, minute to minute, second to second.
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