Bitter Sweet

Cloudbase you say? Sounds like a nice safe option for a late-night spin on the record player. With a cute name like that this must be a soft-pop record with a nice quiet, sterile production technique. Er… no.

The swimming guitars that open ‘Bitter Sweet’ throw that one out of the window straight away and it’s time to grab some headphones before the neighbours pour petrol through my letterbox.

Starting from scratch, the guitars kick in with the altogether louder than expected riff, accompanied by wandering bass and subtle keyboards. Equally surprising, the sudden transition to plinking guitars in the verse momentarily stuns me, so it’s back to the start of the track again to see what happened. The thing is, Cloudbase have put this track together rather carefully and there’s a lot going on.

It’s kind of pop, with a nice female vocal leading things up the front, while the guitars do all kinds of lovely things, building up and dropping away and basically being rather impressive. The song sounds a bit like Deacon Blue hosting a guitar face-off between Slash and The Edge.

‘All Alone’ is another quality song that dwells on the chorus line Cranberries-style with lots of backing vocals pulling the melody in different directions. With some relatively simple guitar playing throughout the verse and chorus, the sweet and tuneful guitar solo is the outlet for the guitars in this track.

Some of the drumming on this track is a bit unusual. What I first thought was some slightly off-beat shenanigans actually turns out to be a technique I’ve not heard before that sees the bass drum overlapping the rhythm in an unexpected way. It’s no bad thing I guess, but is a little distracting from the pace of the song.

‘Real Thoughts’ is the song that sounds like I thought Cloudbase would sound like in the first place – a pop song with a gentle sway and lots of piano. On balance, I prefer the other tracks – but it’s a nice enough song to accompany some warm weather.

Cloudbase have got a great sound that they really have exclusive rights to. It’s very radio-friendly but it’s also rather clever and exiting at the same time. Proceedings are interrupted by a loud banging noise coming from the flat downstairs – the neighbours appear to have been woken by my foot-tapping.

Written by Smith on

Stuart 'Saur' Smith was a prolific writer for The Mag throughout the magazine's lifetime. He combined a day job of temporary office jobs in London with a nightlife of trawling the capital's music venues looking for talent. As well as writing about music, he was a session musician who featured on a number of singles in the 90s. Today, Stuart is a Chief Writer for Phonotonal.
Stuart Smith

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