News: The Clockworks announce debut album ‘Exit Strategy’, and unveil shimmering and dramatic new single ‘Westway’ as a tasty hors d’oeuvre.

Feature Photograph: Oscar J Ryan

Here at Backseat Mafia, we have been long time admirers of the thrilling brand of indie rock emanating from Galway bred but London based The Clockworks. It is exciting news indeed to report therefore that they are releasing their much awaited debut album ‘Exit Strategy’ on 10 November 2023, recorded with Grammy, BRIT & Mercury Prize winning producer Bernard Butler at Abbey Road Studios and Love Electric Studios.

To whet the appetite, The Clockworks have released the single ‘Westway and the signs are of a band that is maturing and developing exponentially. ‘Westway’ is nuanced and delicate release, filled with a sense of melancholy and yearning. Eschewing their earlier angry angular battering ram approach (which, of course, is still an important part of their musical armory), ‘Westway’ is an evocative ballad with an immersive theatrical, dramatic sweep that is statuesque and bold. It is delivered with a croon and a swagger that would be comfortable in a red velvet lounge bar in the early hours after a night of bacchanalian excess.

The track is the final track from the forthcoming album, and singer James McGregor explains the choice of the track as a single:

We were inspired by the writing and production of ‘50s Doo-wop, Phil Spector and Motown. ‘Westway’ is the album’s final track, so we are beginning the album’s story with the last scene in the same way that some of the great films, like Goodfellas, begin at the end.

It is a fitting way to introduce the album and a sign that it may well be a minor deviation from the signatory sound of The Clockworks, while providing a clear example of the breadth and diversity of their songwriting capabilities.

The track comes with a shadowy, enigmatic video following McGregor through a dark, neon-lit urban landscape like a scene from a Nicolas Winding Refn movie. Fittingly, the opening scene starts outside a Christopher Nolan season at the famous The Screen on the Green cinema in north London, referencing perhaps the cinematic mind-expanding journey the band is taking us on:

‘Westway’ is out today and available to stream here:

‘Exit Strategy’ is available to pre-order in vinyl format here.

The album appears to be semi-autobiographical and with a central theme. It centres around a protagonist who moves from Galway to London in search of meaning, certain that as the main character in the film of his own life, the solution lies in changing his surroundings and acting as someone he’s not. The album promises encounters with manipulative bosses, evil ad agencies, a broken pact to flee to Australia, run-ins with the law, cheating boyfriends, drug fueled youths, heartache, paranoia, social media anxiety and a drunk singer dressed as Jesus.

Explaining the album’s genesis and cinematic influence, McGregor says:

We were always sure we wanted the album to be greater than the sum of its parts, so decided to create the world of a film, entitled Exit Strategy. We envisaged the record as a series of snapshots, telling the story of a group of characters trying to navigate through life.

This is a band whose imagination and creativity knows no bounds.

Side A – Galway
1 Deaths and Entrances
2 Bills and Bills
3 Mayday Mayday
4 Enough is Never Enough
5 Hall of Fame
6 Car Song
7 Danny’s Working Like a Dog
Side B – London
8 Feels So Real
9 Advertise Me
10 Modern City Living (All We Are)
11 Life in a Day
12 Lost in the Moment
13 Westway

Feature Photograph: Oscar J Ryan

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