Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Future Clouds & Radar, Future Clouds & Radar

Pick three bands at random and odds are Future Clouds & Radar will have more musical ideas than all of them put together.  Rubber Soul to White Album era Beatles are clearly a fcrmajor influence, this is one of the better “Beatles-sounding” CDs I’ve heard recently, but they are only one of many.  Piano ballad? Check.  Root’s rock rockabilly?  Check.  Effects laden Wilcoism?  Check.  Anthemic indie-pop vocal chorus?  Check.  Straight-uo rocker?  Check.  Guitar driven power pop?  Check.  Bob Marley cover?  Check.  And that’s just the first of two discs.  This truly is a collection where if you don’t like the current track, it pays to stick around and listen to the next one because it may just knock you out.  These guys have no shortage of musical ideas.

Exactly who Future Clouds & Radar are is a little unclear.  Based on the info on the CD packaging Robert Harrison is the main guy.  He recorded all the songs, wrote all of them except the Marley cover, and is listed as a performer.  Before FC&R Harrison was a singer and guitar player with indie rock band Cotton Mather.  Along with Harrison the CD lists 12 performers “and more” with no indication of who does what and sends you to the band’s website for full credits.  When you get to the website you find the Credits page is under construction.  Going to the band’s MySpace page finally lists five band members other than Harrison, problem is, only one of them – bass player Josh Gravelin (who also played in Cotton Mather), is among the twelve musicians listed on the CD.  It looks like this is Robert Harrison and whoever he can get together from time to time.

I’ve seen a couple of reviews that have chastised FC&R for the hubris of putting out a double CD with an overload of material that is too varied for the reviewer to comfortably handle in one release.  In directing attention to the two CDs these reviewers have a valid complaint but it appears that they didn’t bother to check playing time on the two discs.  The total playing time of both discs is 88:44; this music would have fit on one CD if about 10 mins, maybe 2 or 3 songs, were cut.  This shouldn’t have been hard to do as more than a couple of the tracks on “FC&R” are little more than ideas for songs that Harrison could have kept off this album, worked up into full songs, and used as the the basis for a follow-up CD.   The problem here isn’t that “FC&R” is too long, it’s that it’s trying to appear longer than it is and in fact it’s too short for two discs.

Quality varies almost as much as style on “FC&R” with some tracks being knock-outs and others, often the ones that are undeveloped song fragments, being innocous and sometimes annoying interludes until the next good song comes along.  However, the sheer variety on “FC&R” is enough to arouse curiosity and the fact that the band hits more often than it misses makes this one of the more interesting indie rock CDs I’ve heard this year.


08/27/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews

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