San Diego may spark an image of sandy, sunny beaches in your mind, but when the fog rolls in on winter nights, the salty air gets cold, forcing the city’s eclectic group of people to bundle up or take refuge indoors. To the great fortune of music lovers, the January fog of 2005 pushed the founding members of The Clock Work Army inside. And in the living room of a small, beach town house, something unexpectedly astonishing was born.
Emily Neveu (vocals, guitar, piano) and Dave “Petti” Pettijohn (bass) never intended to form a band when they first began playing together, nor did they intend to make music for the masses. They simply played what they wanted to hear, expressing themselves through music in the warmth of their makeshift studio. These late night recording sessions brought in a wide range of musicians, each of them adding their own element to the music. One such musician was Scott Wheeler (lead guitar), a new San Diegan whom had just moved into the city from Minnesota. Although Wheeler’s style leaned toward the weird and wonderful side of the folk genre, apparent in his own band Indian Moon, he added something special to the group. His musicianship was of the highest quality, a student of his own musical tastes, which was similar to Neveu and Petti. But more than anything, Wheeler added a feeling, some sort of emotion that complemented Neveu and Petti’s sound in exactly the right way. And on that perfect note, The Clock Work Army officially became a band.
They continued to play and record their music, bringing in a drummer when they could find one or just relying on a synthetic beat, so long as they could play. In the midst of those improvised sessions, some rhythms would seamlessly match the melody. The band decided to add some structure, piecing together songs from the beautiful puzzle that was their music. At the end of that winter, with a few of these new tracks rehearsed, they performed for a large group of their friends in their makeshift studio. The condensation on the windows of that crowded living room blinded the rest of the world from something inspiring and captivating; so captivating that a small record label (Banter Records), of which the co-owners were in attendance, decided to sign the band, wiping away that condensation and introducing The Clock Work Army to the world.
One year later, the band and label’s first issue, A Catalyst for Change EP, was released. The EP crosses a wide range of genres, from dance-punk to indie rock to shoegazing, leaving the listener at loss for words when attempting to define their sound. However, this is something the band prides itself on, a sound that can appease the musical palettes of a variety of listeners. They define their sound as undefined because they constantly progress as musicians and create music that is a direct reflection of their own abilities and emotions at the time of composition. Regardless of this undefinable sound, it is safe to define Neveu’s voice as beautiful and one that could fit just as seamlessly in a jazz band as it does in this indie band. Petti’s bass lines are steady and driving, providing the groundwork for Wheeler and Neveu’s mind-blowing melodies. Together, these three musicians create a sound, atmosphere, and energy for those who adore beautiful and powerful music.
The future looks bright for The Clock Work Army, like the end of winter and the transition to spring. Their highly anticipated full-length is currently being produced by Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession, Three Mile Pilot) and is due out in March, 2007.