Like Clockwork is easily one of the most confusing artists I’ve ever encountered in my nearly eight years of writing Independent Clauses. I discovered him years ago as a lo-fi artist churning out tunes in a variety of genres. I guardedly praised his work, then waited for more. Since then, things got weird. There have been rumors of albums, double albums, and even triple albums. I’ll occasionally receive a single e-mailed to me with no text, just the mp3. Sometimes there’s a PR guy involved. Sometimes there’s not.
As of late, he has dramatically improved his vocals and reinvented himself as electronics-backed dance-rocker. His last two dispatches in this vein, “Oh My God!” and the most recent “Hands Up!”, are both awesome. But after rumors of all this material yet to be released, his iTunes page still only holds testament to a handful of singles, a couple EPs, old albums, and collaborations. Jesse Astin is a head scratcher, for sure.
But that doesn’t mean that “Hands Up!” is. On the contrary, it’s quite straightforward. A head-bobbing beat complete with handclaps forms the base for burbling synths. Astin’s assured, snarky vocals come in bright and clear over the beats and bring in the chorus, which is appropriately huge. There’s synths, guitars, backup singers, and guys yelling “Hands Up!” It’s a pop gem. If you don’t feel like moving when you’re listening to it, you’re probably no fun. Cause this song is just ridiculously fun. Mid-tempo, glee-filled, pop-techno fun. I’d check it out at iTunes; it’s worth your ninety-nine cents. And until the next Like Clockwork album appears, this is what we got.