Clock Opera were first being discussed as an exciting prospect three years ago. It's interesting that a band would opt out of capitalising on any existing buzz in order to consolidate their sound, and although it's hard not to approach the record with raised expectations, Clock Opera have done an admirable job of transferring their lauded live sound to the studio.
Having experienced the album in its entirety, you get a better understanding of why it may have taken so long to capture, even if there are no massive achievements or bold sounds that cannot be heard elsewhere. 'Ways to Forget' is a hybrid of electronic, indie and epic stadium music that is rarely found coexisting, and it is in this collaboration of (albeit often similar) genres that they have clearly struggled.
Regardless of its gestation period, 'Ways to Forget' has been produced successfully. Second track 'Lesson no.7' is a useful demonstration of Clock Opera bringing diverse approaches into cohesion with one another. One of the record's heavier riffs is complimented by a delicate synthy swirl. In this respect, this is the closest Clock Opera get to Coldplay (to be precise, 'X & Y'-era Coldplay), and they touch on Coldplay frequently on 'Ways to Forget'. Vocally, the delicacy of Guy Connelly is more Orlando Weeks crossed with Thom Yorke than Chris Martin.
There is a patience about the album that is not best embodied on '11th Hour', a climax agonisingly built towards, the result ultimately disappointing. Also, the album is generally consistent and well-contained, but 'Man Made' provides an alternative funky sound that's audible but mostly suppressed elsewhere on the LP.
'Belongings' marks the half-way point of the album and is its apex. A pleasant piano loop is set against the once more vulnerable Connelly. This is Clock Opera's most assured construction and succeeds where '11th Hour' fails. Another touchstone for the band is Foals and 'Belongings' alludes to the best tracks on 'Total Life Forever' (take 'Blue Blood' as an example).
Things don't fall apart from here but do peter out somewhat. 'White Noise' is an interesting electronic song but doesn't fuse its quirks well with its vocals, while 'A Piece of String' and 'Lost Bouys' are not memorable, and therefore dangerously approach filler on a ten track album.
'Move to the Mountains' thankfully finds Clock Opera returning to a piano loop. It's unashamedly sentimental and evocative, which is what they seem to capture best. On future attempts, they could do worse than embracing the stadium and continuing to reach for this big sound.