Album Review: Cloud Control ‘Bliss Release’

Cloud Contol have taken their time with this debut album. I remember seeing them supporting Josh Pyke early last year, by which point they already had an EP, a hit single (Buffalo Country), and a series of acclaimed live sets under their belt. Although I definitely enjoyed their support act set, I never would have guessed that over a year later I would have seen them live a total of five times without even hearing their full-length debut.

However when the result is an album this polished, captivating, and just simply brilliant, you can’t exactly complain.

‘Bliss Release’, Sydney band Cloud Control’s debut album, is an LP not only full of hits and standout songs, but with a real flow and consistency throughout, which is so very rare in a debut record. I’m guessing that this is the reason previous hits Vintage Books and Buffalo Country were not included in the album- although at first I was rather bewildered by this, after listening to the album it’s quite clear that they really wouldn’t have fit in at all, and are perhaps best as remaining fan favourites.

Gold Canary is here though. This is the song that really announced Cloud Control to the Australian indie scene: 4 minutes of psychedelic hooks, Ooohs, Aaahs and a overwhelming sense of cool that immediately captured the attention of music fans, critics, and radio stations alike.

Surprisingly however, it is not the standout of ‘Bliss Release’. Instead this title goes to the second song, There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight. I recognise it from live shows, but this studio version is simply stunning. For a song to stand out in an album as consistently amazing as ‘Bliss Release’ is a real achievement, but anyone who hears this song for the first time and isn’t immediately blown away is a very difficult person to please. Heidi’s backing vocals are subtle but sublime, and that chorus is just mesmerising. This is one of the most instantly awesome songs I have heard in a long time.

As I’ve said however, the album is much more than one song, and even if There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight is the jewel in the crown, the crown itself is pretty dam awesome as well. Ghost Story, which became a personal favourite of mine the first time I heard it live, loses nothing in studio form, and the periods where the instrumentation is stripped away leaving Al’s vocals to shine are just stunning.

Meanwhile Just For Now and Hollow Drums display the depth of Cloud Control’s musical talent, both based around an acoustic guitar. The former in particular is a gorgeous ballad that gives artists like Grizzly Bear a run for their money when it comes to delicately crafting acoustic tracks (no I’m not kidding). The great opening track, Meditation Song #2 (Why, Oh Why) also falls into this category.

‘Bliss Release’ came with massively high expectations for a debut album. However Cloud Control have not only met these expectations, but bettered them. It is a resoundingly mature debut, but it is also a whole lot of fun. It is carefully crafted but yet also instantly accessible and easy to listen to. Al’s and Heidi’s voices strike a really special harmony and balance throughout the entire record, and the instrumentation of Jeremy and Ulrich is of course flawless.

It’s my favourite Australian album of the year so far by a very very long way, and it’s about as satisfying and complete as a debut album can get. It was, in every way imaginable, worth the wait.

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One Response to “Album Review: Cloud Control ‘Bliss Release’”

  1. Hey nice review. I’ve come back to this album in the last two days as i gave it up as i thought i might get sick of it. I bought it on release day, only being introduced to them a few weeks earlier and I love it. However i picked up my guitar tonight and played along and even though I love there’s ‘nothing in the water we can’t fight’ i’m gonna point out Just for Now again. The whole album is darn fine though. Also moshing to the XX at Laneway wasn’t meant to offend anyone ;)

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