steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Clouds Forming Crowns

Self-titled CD

Morphius Records

Genres: indie pop, indie rock, lo-fi

PO Box 13474
Baltimore MD 21203

June 6 - 12 2005

Clouds Forming Crowns is the work of Tim and Todd Tobias, two ex-members of Guided By Voices  This is clearly the main selling point, though the GBV connection isn't really that defined.  There is a similar song aesthetic here, with many Pollard-esque hooks, but the intricate melodic detail of better GBV material is never really recreated here.  With that said, however, this is still an above average pop album - many songs are worthy of repeated listens, and all but a few of them have the power to addict you.

The music on this album is generally classifiable into two categories - powerful rock numbers (ala GBV's recent work) and slower pop tracks (think Under The Bushes' more melancholy moments.)  "Accidents of Air" and "Tails Being Born" are exceptional tracks belonging to the former section, while the minor-key "Nowhere is Everywhere" and the depressed "Let's Bleed" lend themselves to the latter.  There are, of course, a few poorer songs on this record - "Minus Drivers" lacks hooks and "Night When People Go Fast" isn't particularly memorable.  Many of the disc's tunes will require a few listens to sink in, but the wait should prove to be worth it in the end.

Clouds Forming Crowns isn't up there with some of GBV's other off-shoots (Tobin Sprout) but it is still a very enjoyable record - and a must for any fan of the band.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 16 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2005]