Cloud Control - Dream Cave

Their move to London sees the Australians’ sound tinged with a little more grit.

Label: Infectious

Rating: 7

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. The slightly dream-like vibe continues throughout. Third track ‘Promises’ has a bass line chord sequence straight out of The Animals’ ‘House of the Rising Sun’ with fragile harmonies and lilting electronic organ notes to match. And the effect is only capped off by a hoarse ring-out of ‘I’m just a mirror for your love’ in to a restrained guitar solo with bare hints of wildness that suggest much more.

‘Scar’ uses the band’s ability to mix light and dark in ways their previous offerings couldn’t quite pull off. And while chorus lyrics like, ‘My hands are tied, I can’t decide the way I feel’ might sound a bit angsty in Alister Wright’s mouth, it’s largely in the context of more personal narratives and interesting musical journeys like ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Tombstone’. In fact, both the penultimate song and the eponymous album closer paint some of the record’s most genuine emotional pictures.

Previously, Cloud Control have claimed ‘Dream Cave’ is not so much an album as ‘a collection of songs’. But while there are certainly no grand overarching themes designed to tie the whole album together, the collection has a coherent unity both musically and lyrically which more conceptually defined and led works would struggle to match. That said, the last three minutes are just dripping taps – one was probably enough.