Release Date: Sep 17, 2013
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Indie Pop
Not every album that seems like it would reward repeated listening actually does. Some albums that seem inscrutable on first listen remain inscrutable on 11th listen. Whether they are overwrought or under-realized, some albums are, in the end, just not worth the effort. Which makes it even more special when you find one that is.
Cloud Control hail from the Blue Mountains, a New South Wales region of Australia that borders Sydney's metropolitan area. After winning the Australian music prize (the Aussie equivalent of the Mercury) with their 2011 debut, Bliss Release, the pysch-pop foursome relocated to London, then chose to set up in the caves of the Kentish countryside to record this follow-up. The resulting sound is expectedly spacious, awash with echoing guitars and soft, ricocheting synths that feel quite starry, for all the subterranean recordings.
Blue Mountain natives Cloud Control, now based in London after winning the Australian Independent Music Award, took two long years out of the studio before returning this month with a brand-spanking-new album, supposedly recorded in Kentish caves. The foursome initially garnered a deluge of applause for their debut Bliss Release, with many noting dream-pop smog, jaunty psych-folk axes and the indie-pop hooks as impressive facets of their sound. Since that lauded first LP was released, they’ve supported a wealth of international and homegrown stars (including Foo Fighters and Weezer) across the planet; however, now they’re back after their globetrotting and opening-act escapades, delivering us a fresh array of noises in the form of Dream Cave.
Given their reverb-drenched sound and relaxed vibe, it's easy to describe Cloud Control's sound as dreamy, but on Dream Cave, the sophomore album from the Australian quartet, their sound takes on a more nostalgic quality. This isn't nostalgia in the sense of a throwback, though there are certainly elements of that, seeing as their sound draws on everything from synth pop to pastoral folk, but more in the sense that the songs have the hazy feeling of a memory rather than the dissociative drift of a dream. It's as if we're getting a version of pop throughout the '80s and '90s as remembered by the band, with everything filtered through their own experiences and sensibilities to create a sort of sonic version of Instagram, adding a tint to the music without changing it too much.
If harking from the Blue Mountains outside Sydney Australia originally gave Cloud Control an air of dreamy naturalism, their move to London’s Hackney seems to have tinged them equally with a certain sense of grit. On second album ‘Dream Cave’, the net effect is an album that flits between playful cheeriness and melancholy with an almost worrying sense of ease.As an opener, ‘Scream Rave’ sets a suitably unpredictable tone. With a title that suggests the potential for Hadouken!-style madness, the end result is actually far more ethereal, but suitably primal to not get too relaxed.