Australian quartet Cloud Control are no strangers to taking risky chances, having uprooted themselves from half way around the world to pursue a career in music is no decision for the cowardly. However, their second album Dream Cave feels lacking of almost any sense of ambition or adventure. Rather than further seizing opportunities, the band wallow within uncomfortable musical positions and fairly unremarkable tracks.
The second track ‘Dojo Rising’ introduces promising possibilities with a smooth and subdued indie rock surf through the crystalline waters of gentle percussion, honest lyrics (‘should have told you from the start’) and a continuous stable guitar riff. Yet in the next track ‘Promises’, things go downhill when the vocals waver and grate, not achieving the effect they clearly wish to produce. Rather than emanating a smooth soulful croon, they struggle to remain within tune and create an overall unpleasant experience for the ears. The following guitar solo also fails to deliver by sounding rather random and offbeat, making the song seem to suffer from a lack of rhythm.
Whereas ‘Moonrabbit’ echoes an almost Beach Boys sense of multiple vocals gathering neatly into a collective whole of upbeat and light harmonies that create a surreal yet pleasant tone. Similarly, Heidi’s seductive and mellow voice shines within ‘Island Living’, yet it is partially tainted by the mishmash of synthetic backlog which creates a fairly unremarkable musical sound.
Despite this inconstancy in the quality of the various elements of Cloud Control’s music, they get it right in ‘The Smoke and The Feeling’; a deep tenor, laidback ode to 90’s dance music with an added synthetic twist. It holds the honour of being my favourite track, much to my surprise considering the album’s dominant indie rock aspects. But, alas, the follow-up ‘Scar’ becomes just another rather forgettable mess, to a point wherein the chorus feels like a free-for-all between vocalists and guitarist, ending in an incoherent babble.
Unfortunately the rest of the album remains a fairly indistinct mumble, with seemingly no exceptions in sight and the whole thing ends in a faint sigh rather than a triumphant bang. The pace of the entire record just appears to drag, particularly after the standout track ‘The Smoke and The Feeling’; you simply sit there waiting for it to end, instead of wishing it not to. It’s a shame because there are slight glimmers of brilliance winking amid the otherwise sludgy, grey mass. The album is not necessarily terrible, but it hardly redeems itself with its mostly either mediocre or cringe-worthy aspects marring the whole endeavour.