March 11, 2010

Week 27 - The Clouds Are Ghosts - S/T

(Week 27 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks)  

“Once you were frightened / but now, born again / you’re reminded of how free can be.” – Underwater Level

The Clouds Are Ghosts
The Clouds Are Ghosts

The Clouds Are Ghosts are an Austin-based electronic/ambient outfit who released their freshman effort in late 2009.

The self-titled disc, which is 10 tracks coming in at just over 33 minutes, is something I’ve not heard very often… electronic music that I don’t run from. I’m not a very big fan of the genre, mostly because I feel many of the bands that play this style concentrate too much on the synth-beats and not enough time formulating good lyrical content (if you’re in an electronic band and reading this, I’m talking about those other bands… not you). Not so with The Clouds Are Ghosts. They’ve got something really special going on.

Yes, the drum beats and synths provide the skeleton in the framework of each song, but the songs are fleshed out with guitar, violin, piano, and very well written lyrics.

Songs like “Change,” “Atomic Daydream,” and “Learning” have a real Depeche Mode feel to them. Vocalist Jason Morris’ voice has a strong presence and lends well to the music without overpowering or being overpowered. Alt-rock tracks like “Fields” and “Insomnia” align them musically to Austin’s The Soldier Thread.

They seemed to be very careful where the songs hit on the album, for it builds up to the climax track (number 7), “Vampires” then winds down.

Being that I’m not a huge electronic-music fan it makes sense that my favorite tracks are the piano-driven ballads. My favorite being “We Are Not Alone,” a song lamenting the end of a relationship.  Musically it’s beautiful and lyrically it grabs my attention.   

“Waiting for something to happen / something to turn this all around. Pick me up off of the ground. Trying to answer these questions / these questions are keeping me up at night. Leaving me here paralyzed. I cannot tell you why I see. Words are escaping me.”

This is truly emotional music… it evokes feeling. If you let the music in, it will take you on a journey. I’ve not seen them live but if they put it all out there like they seem to do on this record, they must be a phenomenal show to take in.

If you’ve been swayed by this review at all to take a listen to them, well I’ve got good news for you. Their entire album is available as a free download (.zip file). If you like that, how about a free show? Next Friday (3/19) they are playing at The Highball (1120 S. Lamar) with Seven Percent Solution, Death is Not A Joyride and four other bands.

The Clouds Are Ghosts are Jason Morris (vocals, synth, guitar), Erin Fillingame (piano), Jason Flitcraft (violin, synth, guitar), Steven Paul (guitar, synth), and Kevin Butler (percussion)

1 comment:

Bejewell said...

This is my kind of thing, definitely liking it. I'll check out the free download -- thank you!!!