Monday, 1 October 2007

Cloud Control - Self Titled EP

The feeling you get when your ears catch hold of the opening bars of a great song is one of immense pleasure. In fact, this happened to me today. Seconds after I inserted the new released debut Cloud Control self-tilted EP into my laptop’s compact disc drive a new chapter of my life opened up. Now I can divide my life into to distinct parts - Before Cloud Control and After Cloud Control. Yes, true story!

It seems I have the much maligned myspace social networking site to thank. While I might think myspace is a terribly designed social networking website, it has changed the dynamics of how music lovers and musicians interact, and one of its strongest points is how it enables musicians to communicate new material to the general public without having to rely on the “old media”. I stumbled on Cloud Control through a link from a blog post by another band that I rather like (for reference, it was The John Steel Singers).

On the strength of their myspace recordings, I went out and purchased the EP my local Brisbane record shop. As you’ll realise about four seconds after you read this sentence, I”m mightily impressed with Cloud Control”s debut effort. To reinforce this, I’m mightily impressed to the point of over-the-top gushing.

The EP starts off strongly and never really fades away. "She’s Crazy and She Doesn't Care" sounds like a melange of verses from an Eels song, with a Brian Wilson chorus. The chorus hook, "We’re not likely to make a profit anyway" is glorious in its false modesty. I'm sure that making songs as quality as this one will eventually ensure the band make a handsome profit. Furthermore, you can never go wrong with handclaps, which make their appearance during the second half of the song.
“Buffalo Country” conjures images of a song that has come out of a Go-Betweens/Tim Smith (of Midlake fame) side project, if one such project were to exist. The result is one killer track that leaves you grinning from ear to ear. Speaking of ears, once they have grown accustomed to the pop pleasure being pumped through the speakers, the third track “Fine Teacher” begins with a piano melody similar to the "LA Law" television theme song, and takes the listener down a mellower path than its predecessors. All in all, if I had to nominate my least favourite track - it would be this one. However, I think that might be a little harsh - on any other record, this song would be one of the standouts, its just I feel that the other tracks are a bit stronger. The vibe established in the first two tracks suddenly re-establishes itself again by track four.

“Vintage Books” opens with some great little lyrics, "Would you wait like I wait for you? Would you jump if I asked you too?" This is the clear standout track of the EP, with verse chords that are just to die for (E, A, G#m, I believe). “In Your World<” is instantly familiar, and I’m swallowed by images of the early 60s. It’s like I’ve been suddenly transported back to this time and am preoccupied with cruising round a dusty city in my large gas-guzzling automobile. Perhaps Cloud Control have deliberately inferred this imagery - one repeated lyric states "car on the road, to the sound, yeah I know". While it may be a bit clichéd, Cloud Control end their EP with a slow winding song “Into the Line” which produces images of ghost towns and fugitive gunslingers. Beginning with dripping wet keyboard sounds (which left me thinking Icehouse "Great Southern Land"), a country vibe seems to emanate and a slow chorused guitar solo begins to meander down the last phrase of the song.

And as soon as it began, the EP is over and you’re left wanting more. This is one of the best records I’ve purchased this year. Go buy it. I had the pleasure to see Cloud Control do their thing at Rics café in Brisbane the same day I purchased this EP and, in short, it was probably one of the best shows I’ve seen at Rics in all the years I’ve been going there and watching live music. Cloud Control were also supported by a great local act Mt Augustus (who I will have some words to spare for in the near future when I get around to writing my thoughts on their debut EP).

Thus, do yourself a favour and go watch Cloud Control manipulate the weather at a local music venue somewhere near you, sometime soon, before they become big and hugely famous and you’ll be forced to purchase tickets off some bastard scalper on eBay just so you can see them play. Don't say I didn't warn you!

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