177. Clouds – “Penny Century”

One of the upsides of my high teaching preparation workload over the past few days is that I have been stuck listening to this album over and over again.

Clouds The Penny Century album coverNormally I would have moved on, but instead I’ve been sucked deeper and deeper into a world I haven’t visited in almost a decade.

The Clouds were at the forefront of a wave of early nineties Australian indie rock outfits that embraced the sensibilities and sounds of US influences like Husker Du, The Pixies and Sonic Youth, and recrafted them into breezier, poppier output.

Alongside The Falling Joys, The Hummingbirds and (at the brasher end) Rat Cat, these guys got significant airplay and major label support (see Craig Mathieson’s The Sell-in for a great insight into these heady days).

The Clouds were always my favourite from this bunch. Dual female vocals, swirling guitars, wall-of-sound moments and luscious harmonies abound. The influences are there, especially in terms of those pounding Pixies rhythms and the occasional Kim Gordon-like talking vocals. But there is also a sophistication and boldness to it, with arty references (Hieronymus) and biting critiques of music execs (Souleater).

These guys should have been huge. This is a stand out album from its era. It’s a travesty that their works are so hard to find these days, but here’s a video taster:

File under: In for a penny…

One response to “177. Clouds – “Penny Century”

  1. I had this on vinyl, still do, and a number of their singles too. I also have a another LP Bower of Bliss too.
    There is a release, double Cd of the best of about and still available I believe which captures most of the best stuff from this album and their other releases.
    A fine band

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