Review Summary: With Posture, Cloud Gavin may just assert themselves as one of the most versatile bands of our age.
Cloud Gavin are a rare find in today's heap of emerging artists. Not only do they have a unique style and sound, but even a brief listen to the opening tracks of Posture
proves that they're an utterly versatile band that puts their talent to use in a way most others would find incomprehensible. From start to finish, Posture
is an album that playfully changes itself in a way that's low-key in the moment, yet broad and elegant in the long view.
"Pilot" opens the album with the sort of roar you'd expect from a more animated version of the album's artwork - a deep, frantic, and hoarse yell that "There's a pilot overseas and he's crashing, crashing, crashing!" layered over equally rapid punk riffing. From the first few seconds, it wouldn't be hard to believe that Cloud Gavin were a punk band through and through, though the track quickly gives way to a much slower tempo that follows a melodic progressive rock-styled guitar hook. Following tracks seem to oscillate between the uptempo progressive sounds of tracks like "Masquerade" and slower, more post-rock based tracks like "Masterpiece."
While the hook-laden approach of the more progressive and somewhat pop-inspired tracks is easily more impressive and memorable from the get-go, the emotional drive and simplistic yet lush musical soundscapes of their post-rock counterparts have a lasting value that appreciates with every listen. Moreover, though, it's the fluidity of the frequent transitions between the two styles that makes this album such an intriguing listen, particularly on "Pilot" and twelve minute closing epic "Posture." Both of these songs encapsulate and epitomize the band's ability to shift seamlessly through the hard, heavy, and fast riffing key of aggression and panic and the low, flowing groove of remorse and loathing by sliding in and out of the different tones, tempos, and keys of the album in minimal time while leaving a deep impact along the way.
Unfortunately, there are a few issues on Posture
which keep it from being a breakthrough smash. While vocalist Michael Brooks's initial harsh approach in the chaos of "Pilot" is entirely welcome, there are several moments where the strained notes of his voice feel out of place, particularly in some of the more atonal "spoken" portions of tracks like "Posture." This isn't an issue large enough to punch a huge hole in the performance of the album, but it's a point of improvement to be made for the next one, while some serious recognition should be given to the way Brooks's low-key delivery compliments the pop-prog hooks of Posture
and fits its post-rock crooning like a glove. Unfortunately, the production can also tend to muddy things together without a treble boost on the listener's end and, somehow, a wild feedback squeal worked its way in on "Posture."
But even given these issues, the sheer versatility and raw talent for songwriting seen on Posture
is enough to merit multiple listens. And while still at such an early point in their career, this album makes it hard to imagine that Cloud Gavin won't be reaching out to you from higher and broader bandstands in the near future. So, with that in mind, you may as well discover them now, rather than later. Posture
, at least, is definitely worth the less than forty minutes of your time that it will occupy.