Look, it will come as a shock to no one that knows me that I am out of touch with the modern world. Massively. I don’t watch tele really unless its sport, I have no interest in Facebook, even less in forums, message boards or any of the other things I am meant to care about in 2018. I listen to Radio 4, I watch my beloved football team, and this site consumes my life.
I also don’t watch Youtube. Which means I am not familiar with Rob Chapman. For this I owe Rob a massive apology because he’s a serious big deal. According to the press blurb that came with this EP this is Rob’s life: He’s got one of the most successful channels on YouTube, he’s played with Satriani, Steve Vai and all the top guys. He’s been Guitar Personality Of The Year in 2015 and 2016 and been namechecked in Forbes magazine.
Oh and when he ain’t doing that he’s in Dorje (who – yay me – I am aware of!) and has his own guitar company. Which – of course – is the nations biggest.
And just when you thought he might have run out of things he’s ace at, along comes Clockwork Wolf & Company, his blues project and he’s casually knocked this out of the park too. Because, lets be absolutely clear on the subject, these five tracks are as good as any new blues band there’s been this year.
Technical skill, of course, but goodness me, Chapman can’t half write songs. The opener is a slow, brooding, almost swampy affair to start with and the haunting vocals are a part of that. Then, as the chorus hits it does so with a real crunch.
This is modern blues the way it should be, “Old For New” which perhaps sums up the whole record and sees the band – and it should be said that this is very much a band – right in the top draw. There is a soulful feel to these, but the two guitar approach gives this a bit of a harder edge than you might expect too (the second six stringer is Zach Comtois who is Britney Spears’ live player, so nothing to be jealous of there at all……).
“Part Of The Plan” is more rock than blues – think something arena bothering like Inglorious might do – while “Flash Flood” takes the record to some dark places, but it is a stunning piece of work.
The closing “Idle Hands” has lighter, more balladic tinge, but its interesting instrumentation and harmonies see it soar far above the usual. The same, actually, can be said for the whole record.
Everyone had one of those kids at school, the one who was captain of the football team, the cleverest lad too, the best with the girls, but where you should have been jealous you couldn’t muster antipathy because he was so damn good at everything. That – if I might be so bold is Rob Chapman. Clockwork Wolf And Company is evidently just the latest proof. “In The Sunshine” absolutely shines.