As if to prove that it’s never too late to take a leap of faith, Protocol: M marks a big departure for Colin May. Known for being the guitarist in a host of bands over the years, the most recent being Baby Train and The King in Mirrors, with Clockwork he offers up an album where, with only a couple of exceptions, he has produced everything – from the song writing, the playing of instruments, vocals, studio production, even the artwork and production of the CD. Truly a solo album.
Although in the public eye a guitarist, here his other skills come to the fore and the songs are often driven more by electronic waves, keyboard riffs and other strange synth-washes as by the more expected musical vehicles. But that’s not to say that this is some sort of ambient chill out. Although there is occasionally a dark, melancholy and subdued feel to the songs, such as Alchemy and Synth Attack, the main thrust of the album comes from a place where this retrospective view is grafted on to rock grooves and new-wave beats. The likes of Am I Having Fun Yet? seems to cover all these bases.
The influence, consciously or otherwise, of bands such as Kraftwerk come through on the more metronomic rhythms of Picture Perfect and Like Clockwork yet there is still room for more contemporary moments such as Light At The End of The Tunnel.
It’s an intoxicating mix of past and present, light and shade, it’s where industrial music meets more pastoral sounds, where night time introspection greets the cold light of day.In short it’s a surprising, exploitative and more so for these more musically staid times, adventurous album. Buy it!
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