(SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #284: Cloud Boat

By on Wednesday, 8th January 2014 at 12:00 pm

Tom Clarke and Sam Ricketts are the brains behind London duo Cloud Boat. The soulful vocal stylings of Clarke, Ricketts’ fanciful guitar and the seemingly omnipresent synths of today’s pop music are a winning combination in creating Cloud Boat’s poignant sound.

Lest you think this is some kind of dreary, dirge-like music, you need look no further than the label that first took a chance on the pair in 2011 to put out their first singles, ‘Bastion’ and ‘Lions on the Beach’: legendary Belgian indie label and New Beat supporters R&S Records, whose storied release history include albums by Aphex Twin and Delphic’s first single ‘Counterpoint’. Cloud Boat’s debut album went on to be released in May 2013 on Apollo Records, a portion of R&S’s business reactivated in 2009.

Upon listening to the London duo for the first time, James Blake fans may cry foul, but there’s a happy connection between the duo and the 2013 Mercury Prize winner: they were all childhood friends, and surprisingly (or not), they went in the same general direction musically. You will find the main difference between the two acts lies in the vocals. Blake’s voice lacks the maturity and richness of Clarke’s, the latter of whom sounds like he’s been classically trained, sounding like perfection in either an acoustic setting (see ‘You Find Me’ above) or not. These are vocal chops to be reckoned with.

But what about beyond the voice? ‘Amber Road’ is a perfectly formed piece of electronic atmosphere. It’s as if you’ve stumbled on an evil robot’s lair and the cold, unyielding thud, as sinister as the one your imagination hears in Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, surrounds you on all sides. It’s beguiling. The feeling you get is not one of terror but one of admiration. But for something with a faster tempo, we direct you to ‘Pink Grin II’ (stream below), which should satisfy those Blake heads. James, you should probably be watching your back about now…

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3 Responses

12:03 pm
8th January 2014

New post: (SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #284: Cloud Boat @cloud_boat: http://t.co/WotzmWI3Xp

12:34 pm
8th January 2014

RT @tgtf: New post: (SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #284: Cloud Boat @cloud_boat: http://t.co/WotzmWI3Xp

[…] Read the rest of my Bands to Watch on Cloud Boat here. […]

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