This album would be up there with The Lemonheads‘ It’s a Shame About Ray and Rat Cat‘s Tingles EP as the CD I remember being most regularly in mates’ collections in the early 1990s. And I reckon it might have ended up getting more regular spins than the other two.
This is a thoroughly mature, fully realised and powerful release. At the moody (almost gothic) end of the rock spectrum, it contains eleven examples of well-measured songwriting and lush instrumentation.
The producer here also shaped works from Echo and the Bunnymen and Stan Ridgway, and there are aural similarities here as drums are given that big sound, guitars jangle, and vocals soar.
Frontman Ronny Peno (belying his Iggy Pop-ish stage persona) has a great voice that the band could build songs around . There is killer track after killer track here, with The Love Song, Godbless, DC and Sweetheart the best of the bunch.
I saw these dudes play this album in its entirety (and in order) early last year (as part of the Don’t Look Back series) and they’ve still got it. As there is a distinct paucity of video clips online from the band, here’s some pretty crude footage of them from this year’s Big Day Out:
File under: Take pride in these ditties
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.
Normally 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…
Posted in C, Oz Artists
Tagged album, album review, CD review, Clouds, Husker Du, music, music review, Penny Century, Rat Cat, Sonic Youth, The Falling Joys, The Hummingbirds, The Pixies