Cloud Boat - Book of Hours
Cloud Boat may have taken their time, sporadically releasing a few single here and there, but this debut proves the benefit of patience. Glibly label them “electronic shoegazers” if you wish - but that would be significantly unfair and belie how far they stray from such convenient pigeon-holing.
There is something in Cloud Boat’s sound that evokes comparisons with early Doves. Whilst they do not share their indie soundscapes there is a richness and depth here that suggests aspirations towards the epic. It's a widescreen approach all the more impressive considering it is the product of just two musicians, Sam Ricketts and Tom Clarke. Furthermore this isn’t just the fruits of studio wizardry; the duo are committed to bringing their music to a live setting too.
Musically the core here could be described as downbeat electronica but this label underplays the extent to which musical motifs are explored and the extent to which they experiment and let the songs grow organically. Songs are frequently based around strong vocals hosted within these layered electronic stylings. Lyrically we’re in mournful introspective territory: “Death is coming into town” might not be the kind of thing to get your party started with a swing, but it will pull you in, eager to explore these eldritch horizons. Other tracks forgo vocals and simply build and aspire - and often succeed - to just being beautiful.
If Cloud Boat were to be championed it would be for hauling anchor, striking out on their own and seeing where the prevailing winds and tides take them. They deserve an audience. Climb on board.