The Cloud Room – The Cloud Room

The Cloud RoomThe Cloud Room (Gigantic)

Fresh out of the NYC womb, dressed in what may as well have been second-hand suits from the Killers, the Cloud Room drummed up some serious buzz at this year’s SXSW festival. But their self-titled debut, on New York independent label Gigantic Music, can hardly hold up to the hype.

Mellower than Hot Hot Heat, happier than Interpol, and humbler than British Sea Power, the Cloud Room performs a blend of vintage styles that have enjoyed a renaissance in popular and indie circles for almost half a decade. That’s not to say that we’ve always enjoyed it too – like many of their peers, the Cloud Room doesn’t do much with their first album but advance a borrowed aesthetic. A few fantastic songs sprinkled amongst a larger body of yawners are not enough to salvage the collection from mediocrity.

The consummately infectious first single and album opener “Hey Now Now” (excerpt) makes a damn good go of it. Threatening to forge a unique and confident sound in a scene of imitators, it’s the song that has been spreading the Cloud Room name around the world. Just two tracks away on the record is another highlight – the sexy, energetic sing-along “Blackout” (excerpt). Anchoring the second half of the album are “The Hunger,” which rehashes “Hey Now Now”‘s Bowie-meets-Duran Duran approach, and “We Sleep in the Ocean,” which finds lead singer J mimicking Ian McCulloch to a T.

Other than that, there’s not much to grab onto. The Cloud Room worked through many bad ideas to discover a few good ones, and unfortunately committed the entire process to tape. The few moments of brilliance are drowned out by what must’ve been a severe case of writer’s block. Promise and potential isn’t enough to keep this band from being another failed experiment in ’80s revivalism. Here’s to hoping their follow-up proves me wrong.

4 thoughts on “The Cloud Room – The Cloud Room”

  1. Oh brother. I’m an 80s enthusiast. That was when I grew up. So when I heard this band get called that, I ran out and bought the cd. And I was completely disappointed. But not because the music was bad, it just wasn’t 80s revival. People seem to think that the presence of a synth means new wave. Unfortunately, the band hardly uses it! They sound nothing like The Killers and especially not Duran Duran!!! The closest comparisons are The Flaming Lips, Lou Reed and Pavement. And my favorite tune, “Sunlight Song”, sounds like a drugged up Coldplay of all things!

  2. I loved them so far. They have a different mellow sort of sound that makes them unique. By the way the 80s had horrible music so thank good they don’t sound like they are from the 80s.

  3. i totally didnt buy this album.. i stole it …over the internet… it was kinda good though, shame nobody else thinks so. i can totally dance like a downer on crack.

  4. Kristin, saying the ’80s had horrible music is a really inaccurate blanket statement to make. I bet you were born in what, ’87, ’88? Name 5’80s bands that you think suck and I’ll name 15 that didn’t.

    And Danny, I appreciate your defense of this record, but isn’t your investment and therefore your standards significantly lowered when you get an album for free? In my case they sure are. Listen to The Cloud Room again in a year and I’m sure you’ll be bored by most of their songs.

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