Friday, 2 August 2013

Recommended music: 'Comfort Songs' by Cloud

There's a line in 'Cars & It's Autumn', the opening track on this album, that pretty much seems to sum up the whole feeling and purpose of the record. "Funny how I'm happy now, singing about my sadness" sings 21-year old Tyler Taormina, and you get the sense that in some ways the record is his own personal therapy - a way of emerging from the 'difficult' teenage years and accepting that sometimes life is going to be shit, but as an adult you have to have the strength to deal with that. In doing so he provides some measure of comfort for the rest of us, hence the album's title. Walking a tightrope between optimism and despair he dips into both and ultimately emerges as a stronger human being - "My ego still needs me to be number one, but I think that I figured it out / That I only wish to be a positive force, and I don't wanna be the main character of my own life anymore" is the phrase that closes 'Authorless Novel'.

Musically this a broad church, with piano led numbers, acoustic moments, some beautiful trumpet solos, and even one or two musical moments that Mogwai would be proud of. Some bits of it remind me of Mercury Rev as well, although I can't really put my finger on why. Halfway through there's a section of songs (the end of 'Stomach Pit' & the start of 'Frere Jacques and Me') that remind me so much of hymns I used to sing at school that I wonder if there is a religious element to Taormina's upbringing, and if this in some way contributed to his teenage torment. 'Desperation Club', the longest song on the album, even comes with its own manifesto, and states 'If this were a movement, its members would follow not by choice or will'; a Fight Club for the weak and disenfranchised then.

Other great things on this record? The line "Celebrate celibate strangers", which could have come from the pen of Morrissey. The choir of friends on 'A Light Wish Weighs A Lot'.  The way that at times it feels like the whole thing is about to get out of control before it's gently reeled in. The way that the 'Ave Maria' violin introduction of'Stomach Pit' gives way to the song's melody, which has more than a passing resemblance to 'Amazing Grace'.

If you're looking for comparisons then this is every bit as haunting and touching as last year's 'Put Your Back N 2 It' by Perfume Genius. But you shouldn't really be comparing this to anything as it's in a class of its own.

The album is out on Audio Antihero on August 5th and is available as a download or a limited-edition cd - click here to order. And whilst I don't wish any ill on Jamie or his record label, it's safe to say that if he shut it down tomorrow he could feel safe in the knowledge that he's helped to give birth to a truly great record.

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