Dec 2011 28

The Clouds are Ghosts - Harbinger EPThe Clouds are Ghosts
Category: Electro-pop / Ambient
Album: Harbinger EP
Stars: 4
Blurb: Excellence in songwriting, musicianship, and production makes for a wonderfully appealing EP from this immensely talented Texas band.


When one thinks of dreamy psychedelia, Austin, Texas may not be the first place that springs to mind; yet, The Clouds are Ghosts come to break the mold and present an ethereal blend of electrified pop rock. Driven by a pulsating mix of electronic and organic ambience, the band presents an eclectic style that teems with excellence in virtually all areas of songwriting, musicianship, and production. The Harbinger EP certainly lives up to its name as it not only demonstrates just how much the band has developed since they released their full-length debut in 2009, but just how much further they plan to go with their impending second album. From the onset of “Embrace the Future,” the hallmarks of the band’s sound are immediately heard as subtle electronics mesh with somber pianos and lively percussion, all the while Jason Morris’ soaring vocals exhibiting their impressive range. Like the songs on the debut, those featured on the Harbinger EP are succinct, never outstaying their welcome with histrionics and gratuitous lingering. Where the band has clearly improved is in allowing the songs time to breathe and satisfy the listener just enough that nothing is lacking; savoring the taste yet saving room for more. The exception is on “Canvas,” which clocks in at just under six-and-a-half minutes. With Erin Fillingame’s sullen and romantic piano underscoring the song, the buildup to a lush and devastating atmosphere is filled with all the grandeur of a fantasy epic, Morris’ vocals layered to create an ambient choir that in tandem with crystalline arpeggios and distortions a la guitars, performed by Jason Flitcraft and Steve Paul, creates a truly lovely piece of music. “Beacon” offers another one of the EP’s shining moments as a throbbing electro bass hovers beneath shimmering and sparse guitars reminiscent of U2’s The Edge, the drumbeats steadily gaining in strength and momentum until picking up speed for a truly energetic, danceable, and dramatic climax that is simply a joy to hear. With contributing musicians assisting on drums and bass for Harbinger, new members Michael Parker and Earl Bowers rounding out the band for the recording of the upcoming album, The Clouds are Ghosts present an impressively clean and virtuosic style of ambient pop that has mass appeal written all over it. Every member plays with equal amounts of precision and passion, making the EP’s 21 minutes all too brief an offering, but once again living up to its name as a Harbinger of even better things to come.
Track list:

  1. Embrace the Future
  2. Beacon
  3. Hurricane
  4. Strength in Numbers
  5. Canvas

The Clouds are Ghosts Website
The Clouds are Ghosts MySpace
The Clouds are Ghosts Facebook
The Clouds are Ghosts Twitter
The Clouds are Ghosts Bandcamp
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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