Cloud Control Bliss Release
  • THURSDAY, DECEMBER 01, 2011

  • Posted by: Ed McGarrigle

The music of Cloud Control isn't revolutionary, it's predatory. It's the kind of nostalgic chamber pop that seems to be lurking around every corner. The songs sound like you've heard them before, but surprise with their lucidity, their ferocity. You're able to predict their changes and curves, but the important thing to remember about Cloud Control and their record Bliss Release is that you lose a bit of pretense in the chase, and might accidentally wind up enjoying it despite predetermined thoughts on the genre.

The music of Bliss Release is light and airy. Most tracks use acoustic or clean guitars. Only once in a while will the over-driven drone of a distorted guitar pierce the speakers but when it does, you're greatful for it. The mix is added in a subdued fashion giving some songs a general buzz about them as they hit their climax. It doesn't blow the door off the hinges when it kicks in.

One thing that Cloud Control does exceptionally well is balancing voices. The male/female vocal pairings of Alister Wright and Heidi Lenffer are cute, but become more essential than aesthetic as the tracks go on. They play off of each other nicely, and create even more efficiency when singing in unison. At other points on the album, the voices are chopped up, looped, and used as their own instrument like a synthesizer made simply out of a couple of "oohs" and "ahhs." "Death Cloud" uses this voice-esizer to a great affect before the drums and bass kick in, pushing the track forward. "Gold Canary," a stand out on this album, starts out only using voice hooks, minimal drums and bass, and hand claps to create a soothing pop song before adding more instrumentation.

Lyrically, the band seems infatuated with the surreal side of life with lines dealing with spirits and the occult, without going overboard. "We are the protectors / we are the soul collectors / we follow solar vectors," Wright and Lenffer sing together on "Ghost Story," one of the most bare, and effective, songs on the album. In another track, Wright asks "will you lay a curse to my name?" as if addressing a witch.

Bliss Release is more than what it appears to be on the surface. The oceans they sing about may sound calm, but Cloud Control will bring you into their audial rip tide, an elevation of sorts. Their brand of chamber-pop separates them from the myriad other bands that sound just like them, a feat rarely accomplished in today's landscape. Except of course, for those dwelling in the clouds.

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MP3: "Gold Canary"
MP3: "Ghost Story"

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