Goddamn, but I love some energetic and powerful music sometimes if only to offset this acoustic rut the world seems to have fallen into. I remember when the “unplugged” craze hit and I remember cursing the musical gods with epithets which mostly contained the phrase, “If God had wanted us to listen to acoustic music all the time, he would not have invented electric guitar and amplifiers!” And I meant it. I mean, a lot of the bands which gave up stacks of Marshalls to sit on stools or folding chairs barely made it behind the wall of sound the amps created. Acoustically, their warts grew to sci-fi proportions, the music barely passable if that. Nope, give me electric most of the time and give it to me in mountainous proportions. I want time changes and power and a voice to string it together. I want rhythms which force you to listen or leave--- that's right, I don't want the unadventurous invading my space. Wait! That's it! Headslap! I want adventure!
And there are few bands out there as adventurous as Ticktockman. These guys are like anemones. Ideas fall onto them and they digest them and somehow come up with culinary delights for the ears way beyond most of the tripe passing for music these days. Dare I call them progressive? What does that mean anymore? Hard rock? They definitely have a hard edge but they don't play hard rock, at least not the three chord blast-em-out version many of us accept as such. Grunge? I still haven't quite figured out what that is, perhaps because I had lived through a couple of decades of rock metamorphoses before it came along.
I can tell you this. They are powerful. They are tight--- asshole-tight, as my old drill sergeant used to say. They are adventurous, grabbing influences wherever and whenever it strikes their fancy. You don't hear jazzy guitar solos in the midst of tracks like “Scavenger! Move Along!” without a sense of adventure.
I can point out bands which also have that sense of adventure: Captain Beyond, King's X, Living Colour, and that's only three, although three of my all-time favorites. I'm sure there are others, though at the present I am amped up on caffeine and don't really care. What I care about is getting the word out about Ticktockman. You should hear these guys, if only to give you fodder for your next “Trash the Gutchman” rant. If only to prove me right or wrong. If only to, in the best case scenario, find a band to set you back on your heels.
Musicians! There are a handful of bands out there you should be hearing! Bands which are a step above, both musically and rhythmically. These guys are one. Pick your instrument (and I don't mean the fleugelhorn) and get set to be schooled. These guys are that good!
Words aren't enough? Good news! You can stream them here!
(Frank Gutch Jr. writes and has written for numerous magazines and websites, presently including this blog and the prestigious Don't Believe A Word I Say site put together by musician and music pundit Bob Segarini out of Toronto. He specializes in the Indies, having fought hand-to-hand combat with major record labels for decades (talk about zombies). He believes music should be the core of the music business, though business it mostly be, and denies the accepted reality in the stead of the artistic one. Seldom does he receive pay for articles and/or reviews and believes that there is no place for negatives in a world in which one cannot keep up with the positives. He is, in a sense, a lost soul in a sea of music, drowning, but drowning gratefully.)