Cloud Control have also got a fair bit of my attention recently with Bliss Release. It is less of a tonal affair than Innerspeaker or Buy The Ticket and has some songs that are pieces in themselves. There’s something of Grizzly Bear/Fleet Foxes in the work, as well as the mandolin led indiefolk of Losing My Religion era REM, and though not as unproblematically good as any of those Bliss Release has a considerable charm.
“There’s Nothing in The Water” is great little pop song, and what makes it so charming I think is that it is so clearly not aiming at a SxSW festival alt country set of affectations, which is where a lot of recent alt-ish Australian material has fallen down, or if not fallen down then disappointed in terms of its breadth.
Now don’t get me wrong there’s a lot to love about alt-country affectations (if you’re referencing Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Wilco, Ryan Adams, or Shelby Lynne you’re not going to go too far wrong) but they did seem to become a rather predictable set of ticks and crosses.
The Waifs suffered considerably from the altcountry syndrome, and several others seemed too constrained by their love of Townes Van Zant and Nanci Griffith. We could probably have a conversation about Casey Chambers here, the centrefold for Australian alt-country, and it wouldn’t flatter her. I think she cops a fair bit of unwarranted flak for being fairly unreconstructed with her Nashville whine and classic verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus songs, but I think those songs are actually pretty high quality and though they don’t really do it for me there is a craft worth admiring in her songs.
Anyway Cloud Control are definitely worthy and Bliss Release is perfect music for rainy Sunday lunchtimes at home in your track pants.