Album shows how time flies for the Clockworks

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Six years ago, The Clockworks made themselves a promise – that, in the summer of 2018, they would sell out the upstairs of the Róisín Dubh and, in October of the same year, they would fill the 280-capacity downstairs venue.  On achieving that, they were to pause, save money working service jobs and living at home, and then emigrate to London.

They managed it all, and after an audacious Instagram message enticed him to listen to their single, they were signed by legendary mogul Alan McGee. He leant them a quote that echoed in every music media outlet with which the post-punk four-piece engaged: “The best rehearsal I have seen since the 90s with Oasis.”

Next month, on February 22, The Clockworks are back in the Róisín’s downstairs hall, a very different band to the one that first conquered it. Wide-ranging, ambitious tracks have littered their time in London – musings on the city’s class divide and on societal hypocrisies extending beyond its reaches.

Two months ago, though, the band made their most significant step yet. Years in the making, they released Exit Strategy – a 13-track debut album that holds all of the external perspectives and ideas one might associate with their work, as well as a much more localised analysis of the years they spent in Galway.

“When you leave a place, your experience of it has a start, middle and end, and maybe you can come to terms with it a bit more,” says frontman James McGregor.

“The album is that Side A-Side B, Galway-London thing. I guess it’s telling the story of how common it is for people to go from one to the other. There’s definitely the historical lineage of people who have left Ireland – Joyce being probably the most notable… He was in mainland Europe writing about the intricacies of Grafton Street. It is fascinating and I’ve tried to work that out myself.”

Pictured: The Clockworks…back in the Róisín Dubh next month.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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