Review Summary: Ben Sharp knows how to push my buttons.
Cloudkicker, for those of you that don’t know, is the alias of the musician Ben Sharp, who is an independent musician that creates instrumental music, aside from one song called Let Yourself Be Huge. If I had to use one word to describe the feeling that emanates from Sharp’s music, I would use the word “dreamy.” It’s easy to find yourself lost in his songs, in even some of his more heavy sections. Ben Sharp creates music that, while remaining engaging and interesting, takes you on an otherworldly expedition. Throughout all of his style changes, his music has always retained that quality.
Sharp’s style has changed drastically over his 4 full length albums. On The Discovery he showcased himself playing repetitive, almost droning technical metal; from there he went on to a more refined and more progressive outlook on metal on his highly appraised album Beacons. From there his music took a drastic transformation into peaceful, tranquil, and almost ambient post-rock, creating some of his most dreamy and enchanting songs yet.
Now, on this album, Ben Sharps takes everything he is great at doing, and amplifies it to the maximum. With songs like The Focus and Making Will Mad showing his metal roots, and songs like Garage Show and Our Crazy Night showing his softer, and more dreamy side, all the while retaining the Cloudkicker charm that is present in all of his music. His guitar work is just as good as it was on Beacons, as shown on the dreamy opener After The Balcony and the cathartic yet peaceful track, and my personal favorite song here, LA After Rain.
Now, whenever I show the music of Cloudkicker to anyone, there is always one track that I go to; the third song on this album, Seattle. This song shows everything that you will find in Ben Sharp’s music, and all executed at masterful levels. In this ten minute song you’ll find astral post-rock passages, riffs that you could headbang to, a sense of emotion and feeling, and parts that just get stuck in your head because of how catchy they are. Seattle is without a doubt the current magnum opus of Cloudkicker, and perhaps the most enormous sounding track he has ever written.
On Fade, Ben Sharp has created an album that has everything I could ever want in music, all at the same time. It’s almost overwhelming. The stunning beauty of this album is something that I think all people should experience. I would highly recommend getting lost in this album.