Along with bands like The Underground Lovers, The Falling Joys and Ratcat, The Clouds held the banner for classic indie pop in Australia in the late eighties, early nineties.The sweet duel vocal harmonies of Jody Phillis and Patricia Young were underpinned by a muscular rhythm section and jangling guitars. Their album, Penny Century, is often cited as one of the Australian indie classics.
Think a softer Kim Deal-fronted Pixies with the slightly disengaged melancholy sweetness.
The band struggled to get the same mainstream attention afforded to bands like Ratcat, and were beset by many hurdles in their attempt at an overseas recognition – the only way to achieve monetary stability and longevity in Australia.
After a brief reunion in 2014, The Clouds are back with a new EP, and it’s like time has fallen away. Just as relevant and just as effervescent, Zaffire can only be described as a sparkling glass of water in a world of global warming. The twin harmonies are in full effect and the melodic strengths of The Clouds is ever present.
First single, Mabel’s Bookshop, is a stomping glam affair recounting a number of local characters hanging around a local bookshop: very evocative of life in the inner west of Sydney that signs off with a wild rambling guitar line. Float on Air is a more restrained ballad showcasing the amazing vocals of Phyllis and Young and has a Beatlesque descending jangle. Final song on the EP, House of the Sun ramps up the intensity with a fuzzy drive and a huge anthemic chorus that underlines the sunny optimism of the lyrics. Sunshine indeed.
This is a brilliant return showing explicitly that the passage of time need not diminish creativity.
The Clouds are launching the EP in Sydney at the soon to be late and very much lamented Newtown Social Club (formerly the legendary Sandringham Hotel):
FRIDAY 31ST MARCH 2017 – NEWTOWN SOCIAL CLUB
Plus Special Guests Melodie Nelson + Jack Tickner
Tickets $35.00+BF from http://newtownsocialclub.com
The EP is available now in iTunes here.
In the meantime, here’s a look back at the brilliant 1991 release Hieronymus: