Review Summary: Cloud Control sits comfortably with an ethereal mix of its rock and folk styles.
Cloud Control is a band steadily gaining recognition. Having released two EP’s that showed a love of laid back, summer rock as well as general folk music, the band have now come out with their first full length LP. Bliss Release
doesn’t single out either of the aforementioned styles, rather it mixes them into an ethereal Indie-pop blend, one that presents a band comfortable with what they’re trying to do, but also happy to grow and progress as is necessary.
There’s an odd feeling of detachment present here, and in this case it’s a good thing, helping CC refine their sound and make it more their own. On the band’s first outings this was mainly due to Alistair Wright’s dream-like vocals, but here it’s also due to the addition of a few subtle tweaks here and there. “Meditation Song #2 (Why Oh Why)” kicks this off in fine form, with Alistair and Heidi Lenffer’s ghostly harmony crooning over a chilled out chord progression that soon kicks into a distorted guitar riff and clapped rhythm. The distortion satisfies the rock edge, making the song feel effortlessly cool (particularly during the short solo), while the acoustic chords represent the folk side of things and the lyrics join forces with subtle electronic effects to ensure the sense of distance is also present. You’re never entirely sure what state of mind Alistair’s in, as he flits from romance (“Can’t stop thinkin’ all about her now”) to just downright insanity (“Don’t ask me why lines are on my hands, sometimes the world’s real hard to understand.”) in the same verse. While a synth drone, hidden under the layers of guitar fuzz, helps build that eerie feeling as well.
Other songs show the lighter side of the band, but this isn’t a Strokes kind of light, this is venturing into essentially poppier territory. “Gold Canary” distinctly lacks the weight of the previous 3 songs, but more than makes up for it with a groovy bass line and choir-based vocals. “This Is What I Said” then immediately expands upon this, showcasing Alistair’s most out there performance – it’s remarkably easy to imagine him staring wide eyed into a crowd of people as he almost speaks the line “Where is it" I dunno, because I don’t care.” – alongside an even more prominent bass.
To make the situation even better, there isn’t a weak song here. At first it may sound as if “Hollow Drums” strays into that territory simply for being close to a basic rewrite of “Fine Teacher”, from their self-titled EP, but a few more listens separate the songs as the strengths of the former present themselves. That’s really what’s on offer here, Bliss Release
is a good jump from Cloud Control’s earlier work while still retaining both the folk and rock styles that made them so good. Savour the eerie feeling that abounds in tracks like “Ghost Story” and groove to the intricate melodies of “Gold Canary”, Bliss Release
is a fine debut from an up and coming Aussie band.