I recently reviewed the debut album for a young Melbourne band (Kettlespider), which turned up on the same day as this record from When Clouds Collide. The two were bursting with youthful enthusiasm and while artists may tighten up and learn from experience over time, there’s nothing like the freshness of early recordings like these to feel good about new music and the future of rock.
When Clouds Collide are Matt O’Connor and Michael Coyle, a post-rock duo from New Jersey and “We’re Just Making Sound” follows on from an EP they released on bandcamp a year ago. This time they have teamed up with German post-rock label Oxide Tones, one of the strongest supporters of the style.
This record has some of the most wonderful moments on it, with the lads having a great feel for chord progression and dynamics. Sounds and themes are not overused, spoken word samples are structured well in the songs, and there are some great crescendos. It’s very restrained and ambient for the most part with the occasional flurry of activity.
‘Cellar Door’, with it’s sound bite from the director’s cut of Donnie Darko, sets the scene – instruments are well played, unselfish and you know you’re up for some crescendocore.
‘Hibernation’ is one of the standout tracks, with it’s waves of jangling chords, simple but effective drumline, and a build up to some magnificent synth strings. It flows triumphant and uplifting, carrying an infectious phrase that will soon have you humming it without realising.
With a complete change of feel, ‘Edge Of Infinity’ follows with creepy, moody keys and slowly lifting guitar before an explosion of fuzzy power chords, tremolo and a cacophony of cymbals. It’s powerful stuff.
“Oh, Boy” samples some TV (I think), perhaps a little too loudly at the start, but doesn’t overdo it and there’s a great little lead-in to another powerful crescendo. From here on you do start to feel the familiarity and to a degree sameness of the songs with good variation in sound but little change in the way of structure.
Final track, ‘In The Wake Of Collision’, rounds the record out well, as uplifting and memorable as ‘Hibernation’ but clearly saying goodbye as it gathers pace before the fading last minute.
This record does have a couple of flat spots, the structure could be more complex, and I think they struggle with rounding out and closing off their songs, as do so many bands playing this style. That said, I didn’t get bored listening to it and there some genuine moments where this record just soars. In terms of sound for a home produced record this is up there with the best of them.
What will be interesting to see is how the guys mature. They really need to get out there and gig which means expanding the lineup at least to one or two more and even then the laptop would probably get a significant workout. You can’t rely on a couple of friends and one or two reviews to give you the feedback and engagement that you need to keep growing and remain passionate and inspired.
Never mind a concert hall; fill a house or a record store, peel the paint off the walls with those crescendos and share the talent. Because you’ve got a lot to share.