Music review

Sandpaper Eyebrow’s Clockwork Utopia Has Time On It’s Side

Tick-tock, check the dial please…come in come in. I’m locked in my place with bells from a schoolgirls jewelry box. “Feel like I’ve been here before….feels like I walked through that door…..here in my head, here in my head”. “Electric Eye”, the second track on “Sandpaper Eyebrow’s” new full length release “Clockwork Utopia“, (Tuppence A Bag Records) takes you through a game of musical chairs. One minute you’re listening to fuzzed-out guitars meandering through organ sounds only to be dropped into a melodic acoustic holding pattern. Evidently, the key idea in Sandpaper’s minds-eye was dynamics. 

Initiating most adventurous ideas is a man or woman hidden behind a curtain. We all saw the Wizard Of Oz right? Well songwriter, David Georgiou has momentarily left his keyboards post with KingBathMat to handle all instrument duties on “Clockwork Utopia”, a 9 track synth-metal banger that sounds like an old Tommy Iommi demo CD. I keep waiting waiting for Ozzy’s voice. Georgiou’s guitar work isn’t on par with Iommi’s but let’s own up and understand not many guitarist are. The comparisons to Sabbath are in the sense of sound.  “Clockwork” does sound like a tracked but functional record. Meaning that there’s spots where the song staves off the prog groove, but human magic brings a sense realness to the songs.  The performance feels cared about, but would certainly benefit from the energy generated from a group or partial band recording.

“Ozone” is an eight minute jam that dabbles in vocal pitch tweaks and autotune segments. The song plods along on a ride cymbal carpet ride with phased out fills and warm metal guitar chords. This track is the strongest and could be best described as a heavy version of the band Elbow.  This is the direction Georgiou needs to go as he proves to be fully capable behind the knobs and engineering controls. He cleverly includes several sub-two minute interludes throughout, that nicely frame well arranged progressive explorations.

Kingbathmat’s frontman, John Bassett, lends his vocals on “Electric Eye” and “Ozone”. Rob Watts sings on “Clockwork Utopia” and Ishan Ladak on “To Nowhere”. There’s something to learned by the guest vocalist on this record. Basset’s experience brings an added strength to the Sandapaper Eyebrow CD. Georgiou will discover a much needed identity by having someone of Bassett’s caliber singing on future configurations. When he finds his “Ozzy” he’ll grow wings and elevate his promise and look back upon his footprints to map out another prog-adventure. One thing Sandpaper Eyebrow has is a budding young songwriter that’s fearless in his attempts to bring neo-metal prog rock back to the south shores of the UK.

Let’s go ahead and ask the man himself about his project shall we…

Upon completion of Clockwork Utopia what would you have done differently?
I think I would have just done more to it, I would have put in a few more songs and put a bit more effort into the final album. The album is mainly about time and time is one thing I didn’t have a lot of while I was recording the album.
I hear a lot of promise with The Sandpaper Eyebrows. Have you considered a permanent line-up with an experienced singer?
Yes, I tried to work with a few different singers during 2012 as I was trying to find the album sound I wanted, most of them either were too far away to be a permanent singer or were already in bands. I was planning to do a bit of singing myself on the second album, to make things easier for myself so as soon as I have an idea for a song I can just get straight onto recording it in my own time. I most likely will not like the sound of my own voice, so I will be looking for a more experienced singer who I can work with in the second album and for live shows.
How has your experience with KingBathmat shaped you as a songwriter?
Massively. I recorded the bonus demo track “To Nowhere” before I had joined KingBathmat and that was a huge fail. A month or two later I started recording little bits of what turned out to be Electric Eye, which I really wasn’t happy with and didn’t like very much, but I decided to post samples on Soundcloud anyway. This was just after I joined KingBathmat. I asked John at a practice if he’d be happy to record some vocals for a Sandpaper Eyebrows track. He then came back to me later to say that he had listened to the track I had recorded and that he’s come up with a vocal melody to it. After I had the final vocal recording and started putting the song together I decided to add the instrumental bass riff / guitar riff bit.  He then gave me a few tips on mixing and mastering for a few other tracks which I think may have saved the album from being completely un-listenable. 
I do realize that a lot of the tracks sound similar to KingBathmat, this is probably due to John featuring on a few tracks. I have a feeling that the second Sandpaper Eyebrows album will be quite a lot different in the way it sounds.
Please explain your goals with The Sandpaper Eyebrows and Tuppence A Bag Records.
I’d like to, by the end of 2013, have a full band for The Sandpaper Eyebrows and get gig ready. Then I will write songs with the band and see what sound suits us all. 2012 has probably been the worst year for me time wise, I’ve had no spare time to do anything really, I’d like to spend more time on Tuppence A Bag Records establishing a name, we are looking into working with a distribution company to get UK distribution physically and digitally very soon.
Describe the music scene in the southern region of England and how it changes as you proceed into London.
Well, in Hastings there are so many different types of genre and musical styles flying about the whole town, there’s anything from rock, pop punk, ska, acoustic to dubstep-metal. There is so much music constantly in Hastings but no one seems to buy albums anymore, at all. People take what they can if it’s free or very cheap, I think that’s mainly why the album is only £3. 
Writer & Editor, PMM
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