Cloud Control @ EVAC, Liverpool 18.10.13

Aussie shoegazers’ superb live show rolls into Merseyside

Oct 24th, 2013 at East Village Arts Club / By Richard Lewis
Cloud Control @ EVAC, Liverpool 18.10.13 Hurriedly negotiating the back streets of Liverpool city centre unsuccessfully attempting to avoid a near-torrential downpour, arriving at the recently opened East Village Arts Club is an extreme relief.

A re-upholstered update of The Masque, upstairs room The Loft plays host to two leading practitioners of what music hacks are calling for lack of a better term nu-shoegazing.

First up the UK portion of the bill sees Londoners Younghusband building on their outstanding debut LP Dromes. Easily capable of recreating its concise pop infused shoegazing live, lead singer/chief ‘husband Euan Hinshelwood expertly leads the quartet through the shimmering likes of ‘Left of the Rocks’ and ‘Constantly in Love’.

While comment has been passed on the band’s immersion in the sounds emanating from the Thames Valley in the early nineties, the mixture of cutting edge psychedelia and clearly discernible pop melodies is clearly embossed with the band’s own stamp.

Despite only being a year into their time as a live act, the present group are savvy enough to know that once to settle into a groove you mine it for all it’s worth as the second half of ‘Wavelength’ is stretched out to XL proportions, ‘Reunion Message’ meanwhile is dispatched with similar aplomb, the band bursting into the daylight of the choruses following the submerged verses to dazzling effect.

The quartet’s best known cut so far ‘Silver Sisters’ meanwhile seemingly prompts the the entire room into union mesmeric head nodding, the reception afforded the ‘husband clearly indicating a prompt return visit is desperately called for.

Arriving onstage Cloud Control frontman Alister Wright almost hidden behind his hoodie with a cap pulled down low looks like a bus-stop dwelling ASBO youth. Buoyed by the warm reception to this year’s Dream Cave, the Aussies weigh in with impressive recent single ‘Dojo Rising’ early on, the desolate lyric contrasting wonderfully against the emotional pull of the song’s chorus.

By accident or design the band’s name is brilliantly captured in their sound, the drifting ambience of shoegazing/psychedelia kept in check via due care and attention paid to the actual song itself.

Either by way of intense work shopping in the practice room or a vast string of gigs the band are ferociously well-drilled, turning in note-perfect renditions each time as they sprint through an exhilarating set. The two singers in particular are absolutely spot-on as Wright’s vocals mesh with Heidi Lenffer’s and her accompanying keyboard riffs to startling, seamless effect.

The quartet succeed in equalling Vampire Weekend at their own game in their appropriation of African highlife guitar lines via Paul Simon’s Graceland on a sunburst rendition of ‘This Is What I Said’ with ‘The Smoke, The Feeling’ close behind. Elsewhere a rousing rendition of folk/blues rock gem ‘Meditation Song #2 (Why Oh Why)’ sounds as though it escaped from an unseen cut of Woodstock. The longer the band remain onstage the more their confidence grows, as the hooded top and the head gear are dispensed with, ‘Moonrabbit’ their most indulgently poppy, brilliantly infectious moment to date providing a definite highlight.

‘Dream Cave’, a doppelganger for a lullaby from a David Lynch film airs as the penultimate track before the short and sweet country hoedown ‘Buffalo Country’ bookends the set and a trip back out into the rain unfortunately beckons.