A new album from Arno de Cea and the Clockwork Wizards is a stop-what-you’re-doing thing. He’s on top of his game and delivering a surf sound that nobody else has. But admittedly, two tracks in I found myself a little apprehensive about writing this review. What more is there to say about his nearly-perfected, patentable Brutal Surf? After two albums of the stuff, are there any worlds left to obliterate?
Then right on track 3, heel turn. Tempo down, volume down, light, staccato picking. I wonder if Arno had the same concerns because as the title may suggest, it seems that progression is regression. Even the next track sits somewhere between: a menacing stomp but on a smaller scale, and with more of a recognizable surf sound. This is all relative of course -- a toned down track for the Clockwork Wizards can pass as the finale for another album.
The important thing is that it’s done well. This isn’t like when a punk band says “we’re learning to be better songwriters” and it turns into edgeless singsongy drivel. The brutal stuff is as brutal as ever, but it’s a little easier to digest when balanced by the lighter tracks. I did notice that on the louder tracks the bass doesn’t growl quite as loudly as on previous albums, but that’s fine. They’ve done slower tracks before on Surf It Up but these are so better and it feels like they know what they’re doing.
So yep, get it. Free download on bandcamp or order the vinyl.