One of the most stunning debuts in recent memory, There
Are No New Clouds from Sydney’s Ides Of Space is
a lush, dense, beautiful slab of rock and roll. As the title
of the album suggests, there are no new sounds on this record,
but Ides Of Space mine familiar territory with such aplomb,
expertise, and enthusiasm that the experience is every bit
as exhilarating as that first time you heard My Bloody
It won’t take but a few seconds for you to identify the familiar
territory to which I refer. Depending on what you listened
to of the shoegazer sounds that blossomed in the 90s in the
wake of MBV’s brilliant records, you may hear hints of Ride,
Loop, Swervedriver, Chapterhouse, Slowdive,
or even later bands like Medicine, Smashing
Pumpkins, and Idaho. Yes, Ides Of Space is sparkling
distortion, heavily effected whispered vocals, synth string
pads and chimes, and a healthy dollop of reverb ladled over
the mass. But they’re also driving, intense, passionate rock
that refuses to let you be lulled into a trance by the lush
atmospherics. If they’re lucky, they’ll be able to avoid being
pigeonholed by rock writers who will want to call them "ethercore"
or something equally obtuse.
Your best introduction to the Ides Of Space sound is "No
Trace Of Fading", which stands out as the most likely
"single" on the record. Here Patrick Haid’s
vocals are mixed up front, while his and Mark Ayoub’s
guitars careen into each other in sonic bliss. David The’s
bass and Anthony The’s drumming drive the piece relentlessly,
and Martin Barker’s keyboards provide delicate flourishes
throughout. This may not be the track that Australian radio
has chosen (the Ides are enjoying play on Sydney’s mainstream
2JJJ), but it is the clear winner for Gavin accessibility.
This is not to say that the other tracks on There Are
No New Clouds pale by comparison. The album’s opener,
"This Side Of The Screen" (featured on a recent
episode of Dawson’s freaking Creek), contains
strummy and beautiful verses and chunky, lashing choruses.
"Keep Writing" is similarly surprising with its
alternating sweetness and aggression. The slower and more
patient pace of "Switchboard" is compelling and
confident. The shimmering and ringing guitars of "Random
Noise Generator" become a crunchy, forceful presence
as the tune builds to its cataclysmic crescendo.
There’s not a lot to hang onto in the vocals on this record,
but there are absolutely beautiful melodies and countermelodies
in the guitars and keyboards that make Ides Of Space far more
than a noisy space band. On top of and shaping the beautiful
musical mess, Anthony The beats his skins intensely, as if
to defy the squishiness of the music he spurs. Wayne
Connolly’s production adds the final important touches.
Connolly has worked with Silverchair, Evan Dando,
and many others. In tune with the classic shoegazer esthetic,
Connolly mixes the vocals pretty low throughout, allows the
guitars to mush together, keeps the bass pumping, lets the
drums pop out in the mix, and, as I mentioned earlier, washes
the whole mélange in thick reverb.
So, while Ides Of Space adds very little that is new to our
musical world, they are doing what they do better than anyone
currently doing it. It’s exciting to hear a band so committed
to a sound and so skilled at producing it, particularly at
such an early point in their recorded career. If the band
continues to develop, we can expect only better and better
from them. I, for one, am glad to have gotten in on the ground
floor with these folks.
— Eryc Eyl
Track Listing :
- This Side Of The Screen
- Arthur’s Car
- Keep Writing
- No Trace Of Fading
- Random Noise Generator
- I Promise Not To Notice If You Promise To Pretend
- Computer World
- Movie Ending
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