Monday, August 5, 2013

Cloud Control at the Mercury Lounge

The four members of Cloud Control, an alternative rock band, grew up in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia. They met at the rehearsals for the Pirates of the Penzance, formed the band and soon thereafter won a “Battle of the Bands” contest. Cloud Control released its self-titled debut EP in 2008, received local radio airplay and opened for Supergrass on an Australia concert tour. A string of festival appearances and tours with several Australian bands followed, and the band finally released a debut album, Bliss Release, in 2010. Cloud Control won its first major accolades at the Jägermeister Australian Independent Music Awards in 2010, winning Best Independent Album and Breakthrough Independent Artist. The Sydney Music, Arts & Culture (SMAC) Awards then named the band Best Live Musical Act and Record of the Year. Bliss Release also won the Australian Music Prize in 2011. Cloud Control’s second album, Dream Cave, will be released on August 9. The band is Alister Wright on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Heidi Lenffer on lead vocals and keyboards, Jeremy Kelshaw on bass and backing vocals and Ulrich Lenffer on drums and backing vocals.

Many contemporary bands are categorized as alternative when they are not the least bit alternative. At the Mercury Lounge tonight, Cloud Control lived up to the title. The youthful band performed a 60-minute set of original songs featuring simple but innovative arrangements that were somewhat left of center, sometimes sounding a bit like early Talking Heads. While a dance rhythm was fairly constant, the vocal melody lines and musical breaks within the songs were often unconventional or experimental. The pop lead vocals and harmonies were soft and charming, yet constructed creatively in such a manner that the songs became too arresting to be simply background music. Whether the songs were memorable or the choruses were catchy was left to the individual listeners, but the general audience seemed impressed by band’s overall indie ingenuity.