The Clockwork Dolls formed in 2007 from a diverse group of theater geeks, side-show performers, and artist with the concept of creating theatrical, grand, epic music for people to enjoy focusing on bygone eras with symphonic rock. They released their first album in 2009 with Dramatis Personae.
After three years of work their second album “When Banners Fall” was released. Inspired by World War II, with original tracks and speeches from Dwight D Eisenhower, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill.
The album is only eight tracks long, each of them a powerful orchestral sound and lovely piano work. The whole thing sounds like it is part of the soundtrack to some major motion picture with huge sweeping visuals and lots of emotional character work.
The first track (The Great Crusade), third (This Poignant Hour), and fifth (May 4, 1945) are recordings from historical speeches with background music that lead into the next track. Second (Flyboy), fourth (Hold The Line), and sixth (When Banners Fall) tracks all are deep emotion tracks about different things of the war (air battle, holding out against the enemy, victory and what is to come). They are able to invoke both the romance and tragedy of conflict through both the melody and lyrics. A little hard to understand the lyrics the first few times through with the almost operatic way they are sung.
The seventh track is a rendition of “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”. Which although about WWI still fits with the feel of the rest of the album and actually my favorite track. Truly heartbreaking sounds the way the song has no instruments being played just Colette Lovelace pouring it all out into this simple tune.
The final track is a complete instrumental version of the whole album. Which is something nice to play in the background and relax with.
Over all I think this a great album and has a real steampunk sound without being obtuse about it. My only real complaint is that it is two short and a little repetitive. I would have liked more tracks.