In three and a half blistering minutes, The Clockworks prove once again that they are one of the most exciting bands around at the moment. ‘Can I Speak to a Manager?’ is over three minutes of excoriating and rage-infused ranting at the mind-numbing stupidity of everyday interactions – in this case simply trying to get a laptop fixed and coping with the inanities of every day existence. A song born of frustration and powerlessness and perfectly captured in the title.
And it’s not just the lyrical acerbity that shines so much – the razor sharp, thundering bass provides a solid bedrock to the arch of the guitars that somehow altogether manage to encapsulate the seething anger and frustration. There’s a deep groove and drive. And yet somewhere hidden deep inside is a scintilla of self-deprecating humour at life’s absurdities.
James McGregor says:
Musically I think it is one of the starkest and darkest tracks that we have. In essence it’s a simple story of getting a dodgy laptop and having no luck on the phone to the company who sold it. Without the “fast-food distraction” factor I hoped the laptop would provide, I looked around for something else to do and found nothing. Nothing on TV, nothing in the fridge, showering for some purpose….Spending money to try and buy some purpose just makes me more cynical…I wanted to sort of drill in the phrase “Can I speak to a Manager?” to get a feeling that everywhere I look, that question is there.”
The accompanying video is simple – the furious and impassioned McGregor on the phone and pacing madly in a bleak and monotonous urban landscape:
A perfectly joyous snapshot of utter misery. The Clockwork’s previous single (‘The Future Is Not What It Was’) served notice that this was a band not to be messed with, and their signing to Alan McGee’s new label Creation 23 underlined this future. There is a the pace and vibrancy found in their compatriots Fontaines D.C. and the lyrical dexterity and imagery of John Cooper Clark or the Arctic Monkeys.
‘Can I Speak to a Manager’ is out on 14 August 2020 through Creation 23.
The Clockworks are James McGregor on Vocals/Guitar, Sean Connelly on Guitar, Damian Greaney on Drums and Tom Freeman on bass.