Cloud Control - Bliss Release Album Review
The opening track to Bliss Release starts with a low synth drone that instantly, knowing the Australian origins of Cloud Control, brings to mind the drone of a didgeridoo; this is then joined by folky acoustic guitar, and the combined vocals of Alister Wright and Heidi Lenffer sound clear. To start with, it's all a laid back gentle folk vibe a la Mumford and their contemporaries, but then the full band sound forces in with fuzzy guitars and percussion giving a much stronger flavour of the likes of Guillemots and Vampire Weekend; a force which pauses briefly for an organ interception before continuing to the tracks' close flanked by a pounding bass drum and tambourine stomp. Opening track 'Meditation Song #2 (Why, Oh Why)' then segues into 'There's Nothing In The Water We Can't Fight' which is led by a funky bass riff beneath layers of delayed guitars akin to Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend, to whom the Cloud Control sound has a similar, upbeat, eclectic and fun kind of feel complete with stomping choruses.
'Death Cloud' continues with a pounding Arcade Fire type strength of sound which accelerates into a driving riff beneath multi-part male and female vocals singing thoughtful lyrics and melodies reminiscent of wispy, wistful folkers Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver. The determined sound beneath the vocals, however, swaggers with much more conviction and determination than any weaker folk counterpart and influence as is more apparent later in 'Gold Canary' with its' picked guitar accompaniment, multi-part vocal harmonies and something of a collective, tribal folk kind of feel. In the meantime, opening with rumbling toms beneath a driving fuzzy guitar riff, 'Ghost Story' also pounds forwards with a steady yet stomping dirty blues tinted vibe with distorted vocals and all. Unfortunately, however, the track does have a monotonous feel to it as the riff and harmony barely change throughout and the melody simple and repetitive though undeniably toe-tapping.
During the second half of the album, the folky blues feel 'Just For Now' is more down tempo and contrasts the pounding eclectic energy of the albums' other contents with a steadier, even more laid back vibe whereas 'The Rolling Stones' sounds a dingy yet rhythmic opening reminiscent of 'My Coco' by Stellastarr. The track hosts the same gentle folky vocals over more of a raw and crunching, indie guitar blend that then pushes forward to a catchy chorus that harks flavours of more psychedelic, sixties-esque pop.
Despite being undeniably dusted in the kind of sun kissed bliss that you might expect from an Aussie band with an album entitled Bliss Release, the reality is a little hit and miss and disappointing leaving the listener, at least towards the close of the album, feeling indifferent about its sounds.