Album Review: Cloud Tangle – Kinds of Sadness

There is an imperial, glacial beauty to Cloud Tangle’s new album ‘Kinds of Sadness’ that is breathtaking and euphoric. Cloud Tangle is the work of Brisbane’s Amber Ramsay and it is hard to comprehend that this album was done almost exclusively in Ramsay’s bedroom, bringing to mind another favourite musical genius, Fazerdaze, from New Zealand.

This album is complex. layered and evocative – each piece a part of a jigsaw puzzle that encapsulates its title: an elegiac paean to sadness and loss in all its forms, with pattering guitars and synths that capture the tear-inducing back-of-the-throat catching melancholy of Ramsay’s vocals.

Each song is a celestial, arctic chill and yet despite the almost distanced disinterested vocals, it still evokes a deep warmth, an expressive and enveloping tone.

We’ve already covered the singles released already from this magnificent album.

‘Thinking of Myself’ captures the celebration of the introverted – a constant thread throughout the album. In my original review, I described this as languorous, charged and alluring. It is a slow burning evocative song, psychedelic and dream-inducing with Ramsay’s sleepy, ethereal style giving it a hypnotic reverie.

‘Romance Me’, like much of the album, has a classic sixties Euro pop tone of artists like Serge Gainsbourg’s collaborations with Jane Birkin and Bridgette Bardot.

The album opens up with ‘Overture’: a haunting contemplative instrumental. ‘Your Hand’ has a brittle luminescence with its circular instrumental and Ramsay’s haunting vocals. The song drifts into ‘Complacency’ in a dreamlike reverie – there’s something very alien, mesmerising about the long extended combination.

‘Crutches’ highlights the deep seating yearning embedded in Cloud Tangle vocals and the longing is expressed in the layers of instruments and languorous delivery. Ramsay’s voice has elements of Dusty Springfield – no greater reference can be made.

Sitting at the halfway mark, ‘Intermission’ is just that: an instrumental pause that augments the rarified atmosphere of the album.

Ironically, the last song almost subverts everything. ‘What Day Is It Today’ injects a quasi-sixties bounce redolent of artists like St Etienne or Lily Allen with stabs of strings and an almost carefree backing doo-wop vocals while its title perfectly captures the self-isolating zeitgeist of society today. Most significantly, this song underlines the breadth of Ramsay’s musicianship, indicating her ability to switch from maudlin to cabaret at will.

There is no doubt with Cloud Tangle, Ramsay is a prodigious talent – weaving a rich, dreamy pop cloth with her cool laconic attitude. This is an epically beautiful tapestry with love, loss and longing interweaved amongst the most beautiful emotive and evocative music.

‘Kinds of Sadness’ is available through the legendary 4000 Records in cassette and vinyl from here (vinyl thanks to False Peak Records). This is the perfect companion for this brave new world of social distancing.

Feature Photograph: Matthew Mesaric

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