‘You don’t like them? They don’t care. You want to listen to them? It seems they don’t care either‘ – Niall McGuirk on The Slowest Clock‘s lost album Smile Futurismo! All I Heard Was Purple
I am in a small minority here on thumped that has positive things to say about The Slowest Clock. When Snuff had to withdraw from a gig they were due to play in Dublin in 1989 with US hardcore band Fugazi, Slowest Clock were ready at a heartbeat to fill in. They were always looking to play to new audiences back at a time when different genres weren’t always looking to join together. Slowest Clock could pop up with any band at the time. Be that Something Happens to match guitarist Gerry’s psychadelic flowery shirts or A House’s pop sensibilities or Gorehounds psychobilly warblings.
They found friends across the ocean in Australian guitar band Celibate Rifles and teamed up on many occassions, even popping up on bills with Paranoid Visions at times. Of course some of the crowd that were expecting the hardcore fun of Snuff were disappointed with the nod to 60’s psychedelia of the Slowest Clock but many did give them the chance.
25 years later and this record sees the light of day. With no reunion to accompany it, no press sheet to accompany it, no web presence to accompany it, not even contact details on the record. Just a band with some strong songs. How this record came to exist is a mystery to me. I was aware the four parts that made up The Slowest Clock were recording in Roundwood Studios in 1990 when they decided their time was up, and it would seem most of the songs on here are from those sessions. Their post band existence is quite sparse too, only one member continued to be a fixture on the Dublin scene, guitarist Gerry Fahy went on to play in Candy Apple Red.
I recently watched a documentary on the legendary Wimbledon AFC who won the FA Cup in England in 1988. They played that final against Liverpool and most people expected the red of Liverpool to be the colours on the FA Cup when it was lifted that evening. The documentary told of the almost fairy tale journey that Wimbledon went on. Starting off on a tight budget that never really expanded the team from South London fed of not being liked, thrived on being underdogs and wished to be in the minority. That all changed when they got success and these also-rans became internationals and left to join bigger clubs. One player, Eric Young, went on to play for Wales but he had no interest in talking about how he was part of the success story. Didn’t wish for the limelight, didn’t want to take any credit. Wanted to be left alone and let his football do the talking. Very few people know where he is now but they do have the memories of the games.
The same can be said of The Slowest Clock. These songs – big hints to 60’s garage punk – are the memories and they can speak for themselves. You don’t like them? They don’t care. You want to listen to them? It seems they don’t care either.