Jack O’ The Clock brings a quietly giddy sort of energy to the possibilities that spring up where American folk songwriting meets experimental music. The group's sound, a jangly mix of concert-hall agility, acoustic rock drive, and junk shop scouring, is characterized by innovative arrangements for combinations of instruments you are not likely to have heard elsewhere–psaltery, banjo, and bassoon, over a bed of electric bass and bundt pans, for example–made possible by the varied musical experience and multi-instrumentalism of its five members, who have played everything from new music to art metal to fingerstyle folk to free improvisation, sometimes in the same concert.
This is primarily, however, a band entranced by and dedicated to songs, which it crafts with resolute attention to voice, melody, and storytelling. You cannot be in a hurry if you want to digest this music: each song demands a certain amount of time and attention to burn its particular place and mood into the listener's mind, though it is not particularly unsmiling or difficult music to listen to. These songs are embodiments of the small, magisterial, inane, inspired, and pedestrian voices of everyday people and headlines bubbling up from a deep sleep. Bits of unwritten myth. Your weird neighbors and internalized relatives talking back at you.
Jack O' The Clock's recordings go beyond the group's live sound to incorporate on-location percussion, found sounds, clandestinely taped monologues, citynoise, and all manner of insects and birds, as well as a handful of guest musicians and singers. The production of "Rare Weather" predates the group's current lineup, featuring founding members Damon Waitkus, Emily Packard, Nicci Reisnour and Jordan Glenn, with guest vocals by Marty McGinn, Shauna Jones, and Kris Drickey, trombone by Andy Strain, clarinets by Jon Russell, and Arp Odyssey by Dave McNally.