Matt Churchill 18/10/2007

A buzzing Water Rats played host to the much in-demand Epsom band Clocks, who are touring in support of their forthcoming single 'All I Can'.The track is already available on iTunes and is due for a physical release on January 7th. The band are preparing the release of their debut album for next year which has been produced by the increasingly legendary Eliot James (Bloc Party, Fields, Little Man Tate). With so much activity surrounding the quartet, it is no wonder that they are steadily racking up a large fanbase.

The smokeless venue felt heavy, slightly claustrophobic if you will, as the anticipation surrounding the evening grew and grew. Ten minutes before the gig was to get underway, the bar doors opened and the assembled bunch of mods, rockers and Departure fans flooded into the tight-for-room venue.

As the band shuffled onto the compact stage, it was clear that despite being in amongst a huge crowd for headliners The Departure, they had a vast number of the assembled already in their pockets. By the end of the half an hour set, they'd left no stone unturned in their quest to blow the socks off even the most sceptical of punters.

The band launched into the set with gusto, lead singer and guitarist Tom Hewitt gripping his instrument intensely whilst smothering the microphone with his Tim Burgess-like appearance. Ed Hilliam, lead guitarist, and drummer Rich Farris added backing vocals which produced subtley worked harmonies and added an element to the band's sound which gave them a greater presence than could otherwise have been imagined. As the stagelights stayed still, the band half-danced in instrumental sections, bassist John Ricketts enjoying himself especially, free from backing vocal duties he shuffled and swayed as he happily drove the band forward without a care in the world.

Tom's bright scratchy Rickenbacker sound paired with Ed's trebly Les Paul noodlings were backed by thunderous drumming from Rich and the cleverly written bass countermelodies of Ricketts give Clocks a sound that is reminiscent of the best of the 60's. there is little doubt that one of the poppier numbers in the set, debut 7” release 'That Much Better', is a love-child of the Kinks, La's and Oasis, which is no bad thing at all.

With the humidity noticeably rising in the packed venue and empty beer glass placing space at a premium, the band played 'In My Arms', a catchy tune that was the B-side on the vinyl release. A wonderful arrangement of vocal melody and musicianship, the song came to life live making the recorded version of the track seem almost redundant but for reminding you how good it sounds live and loud.

With the audience well and truly captured, the band played their final song and ace up their sleeve, the almost bluesy 'All I Can'. The up-tempo serenade which ensued was the highlight of the set and sent the audience back to the bar with the sound of four brilliantly talented young men ringing in their ears and engrained in their minds.