They’ve been around a while, but all of a sudden any Irish Times employee you talk to (and by talk to I mean read the writing of on the internet) is telling you to check out Cloud Castle Lake. So, having been curious for a while – to the extent that I asked them to do an interview once that fell foul of the 50% attrition rate between being questions being sent and answers being returned – I decided to check them out at Electric Relaxation in the Bernard Shaw.
One of the obvious advantages to gigs in the Bernard Shaw is that they are free. One of the obvious disadvantages is that it is patently not a venue and if there’s more than about fifteen people there you’re probably not going to see anything. There were significantly more than fifteen people there. I couldn’t see anything.
Still, though. The scarlet letter with Cloud Castle Lake is the Radiohead thing – that the voice sounds like Thom Yorke’s, and the experimentalism follows the Kid A-Amnesiac-HTTT-In Rainbows mould. It’s there, definitely, as much as I’m sure they’re tired of hearing it. But for me that’s not the main thing going on. En route to being a little post-rocky, they shave off the unwieldy ‘epic’ edges and end up somewhere weird, proggy and not too far from krautrock at times. They’re hooks without melodies, rhythmic patterns from both the low end and the high end, going after the full-body-experience as well as just the head. The voice – which you could justifiably spidergram to Jonsi if you weren’t happy with Thom – is pitch perfect and so high it really just functions as another instrument, but with a little extra personality. It’d be interesting to see them play alongside someone a bit more aggressively experimental like Children Under Hoof, to see how they fit.
The recordings they have are all qualified with a (live) or a (rehearsal) caveat, which actually makes it all the more impressive that they’ve built up such a buzz. Whenever they do put something new out, consider it on the proverbial ‘hotly anticipated’ list.