Watch Clark - Seems To Be Normal
Released off label 2023
This review was commissioned. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
I found the opening single on Watch Clark’s “Seem To Be Normal” album to describe his own work extraordinarily well. Whether or not it was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, a humorous stab at his own work or quite possibly synthpop’s current modern output, he states, “It’s the same song / It’s the same beat / It’s the same way to / Make you move your feet”. He hits the mark right off the bat as most of what you’ll be hearing on “Seems To Be Normal” is quite derivative.
To get the first critique out of the way so I can then focus on the instrumentals instead, Watch Clark’s vocals and lyrical delivery is subpar. Like so many other synthpop acts, Watch Clark can’t hold a tune and often sounds nasally. Just take a look at the second song ‘Angle’. It sounds like Watch Clark is just speaking over the beat, without a care in the world. Hardly any emotion, no power behind the voice; it’s bland, boring, and stale. His vocal range isn’t that impressive either, utilizing the same voice for practically every song. Even when he tries to sing, such as on ‘Love Language Sabotage’, it’s uninspired and messy.
And now we get onto the instrumentals. Not as bad as the vocals, but still needs some love. Going back to the start with ‘Same’, it just sounds like a demo. Incomplete and not filled, as if it needs more time to back in the oven. Production is a huge part of any project, and this one is lacking a certain polish that I come to expect from musicians. Not only that, but a lot of the beats sound like they were copied and pasted from a plug-in without much effort put into manipulating it. As if an AI was asked to create a synthpop track and took a ton of generic elements and melded them into one.
There’s a repetitious nature to most of Watch Clark’s tracks, as well. What you hear in the beginning minute is what you’re going to hear for the rest of the track with little room for imagination. Take ‘Hell’ as an example. This muddy metal meets synthpop mix gives away all its secrets within that first minute and from there it struggles to keep my attention.
There’s a second member in Watch Clark’s line-up but she doesn’t do too much to garner favor with me, either. One of the songs where she’s the featured vocalist is ‘Monolith’. It sounds like she can hold a tune, but during the verse it sounds as if her mouth is too close to the microphone and that she’s slurring and mumbling her words. While I want to enjoy it, I can’t understand her, and she sounds dazed and confused.
If there’s a single song that I can point out where Watch Clark manages to bring together his beats and music well it would be ‘Outrage LLC’. The mix isn’t too bad and it isn’t too muddled. Instead of hammering home on a dance beat, we’re given a mid-paced, stompy EBM-influenced track with purposeful robotic vocals. Little whirls of electronic nodes decorate the song here and there, and darker synths come to the playground. While there is still room for improvement on the track (a better variation in the beat would have been nice), everything is finely welded together. Plus, it only comes in at three-minute and nineteen-seconds, just long enough for me to have a slight desire to come back to it at a later date.
There’s a whole lot wrong with Watch Clark that needs to be addressed from the vocals to the mixing and mastering, to song construction, so on and so forth. There’s little that I find redeeming about the album other than that Watch Clark showcases that they CAN create a decent song a la ‘Outrage LLC’. I’m not saying they should go completely in that direction, but they need to rethink what they’re doing starting from the base.Jun 11 2023
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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