Majical Cloudz – Impersonator
Alright, let’s get the awkward shit out of the way early shall we. I have a massive crush on this album. I don’t know if it’s the delivery, the confidently slow pace, the constant sense of yearning or what, but fuck me this cuts oh so very much mustard around these parts. It’s hipster as hell, too, apparently, so I even get to kid myself that I’m down with the kidz while I listen to it, which is a pleasant bonus for a man whose beard is starting to grey.
I may struggle to explain what I love about Majical Cloudz* though, because it’s not obvious music at all. It’s kind of mid-paced, kind of dour, neither aching despondence nor giddy euphoria. In that sense they remind me a bit of The National: you couldn’t possibly explain what makes them different, but considering how straightforward what they do is, they somehow manage to have a really distinctive character all of their own.
Perhaps, again like The National, it’s the sheer charisma of the voice which plays a huge role in making this music so compelling. Devon Welsh could sing you Happy Birthday and make it sound like a fucking lament. His voice is just so wistful, and yet rich and comforting. Actually, for a more obscure comparison, how about the awesome Pillars and Tongues – the vocal there is similar, and has that similar enveloping effect.
In fact, despite the one band being composed of almost entirely organic instrumentation and the other of largely electronic, some of these songs slow down so much that they actually sound an awful lot like Pillars and Tongues. In the case of Silver Rings, for example, the swooning, dreamy atmospherics are provided by synths and samples, rather than harmonium and strings, but that sense of slow motion collapse is very much the same.
At other times, such as on Childhood’s End, you end up with an underlying beat which suggests much happier music, but which is delivered in such a broken manner that the impression of a gleeful foot-stomper is made ridiculous before you even get a chance to finish the thought. It’s a little like Warm Ghost in this aspect – a foot in dance music, but only in terms of what it teases you with, not what it delivers.
These differences, however subtle, are well judged and prevent the album becoming at all boring. If it starts to get oppressive, it has places to go, and shifts around just enough to remain enigmatic. And awesome. Did I mention that I have a massive crush on this record?
* Incoming Song, by Toad PR email rule #1: I fucking hate bands with deliberately stupid spelling. Incoming Song, by Toad PR email rule #2: anyone with a Z where there should be an S is clearly a twat. Law of the internet #1: Show any signs whatsoever of having a petard, and lo shalt thou be hoist by it. Bollocks.More: majical cloudz