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  Clouds Forming Crowns  

Clouds Forming Crowns


Morphius Records

Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  

Guided By Voices fans may be pleased to know that Clouds Forming Crowns are the Tobias brothers, Tim and Todd, who have apparently been involved with Robert Pollard's crew in recent years. Now I must admit that I'm not a huge GBV fan, but this really is very good. Acoustic in the main, the excellent opener Accidents Of Air pretty much sets the tone. It opens beautifully with its quietly strummed intro and an odd haunting melody that brings to mind the strange way Roy Wood had with a tune on latterday Move records like Tonight. The band then kicks in - albeit not for long - but it's a cracker all the same. That's not the only time that The Move came to mind, however. Forest of Twins has a great chorus that Roy Wood would have been proud of.

There's another famous 60's band that springs to mind on a number of songs here though The Rolling Stones. Admittedly it's The Stones in their Angie ballad mode rather than Jumpin' Jack Flash kick-ass style that we're talking about here. It shows on tracks like Blades and Teeth, True Heart of Medicine (which is not unlike a slowed down You Can't Always Get What You Want), and Let's Bleed. The latter even sounds like a Rolling Stones title, though the vocal style is strangely reminiscent of early Steve Harley.

That's not to say that the album is totally acoustic, though. Are You Sleeping Well and Wish-Hound are probably more reminiscent of GBV and really rock out, whilst It's Easy, Knife sounds like early, fuzzy REM. Night When The People Go Fast has an altogether looser feel, with its welcome, almost funky beat and a Sabbath-like riff!! But it's the quieter songs here that work best for me. Apart from those tracks already mentioned, there's Nowhere Is Everywhere with the type of woodwind sound that Led Zep used to favour on their more mellow moments as well as the slow, repetitive and doomy riff laden Minus Drivers, and Tails Being Born with its discorded acoustic guitars and slightly off-kilter harmonies.

So, as you can probably sense from the mentions of The Move, The Stones and Led Zep, this probably isn't exactly the most cutting edge album of 2005. However, it does nicely doff its cap to these influences and is one of those records that I've found myself reaching for on a regular basis. Indeed, this is a damn good album by a pair of brothers who certainly don't need to cling to anyone else's coat-tails, be it Mr. Pollard or anyone else. I'm very pleasantly surprised.

Related Links:
  The Tobias Brothers' website.  

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