Black Clouds - Dreamcation (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Black Clouds

Dreamcation (2014)

Collect Records

When the most melodic post-rock ambience and experimental shoegaze clash with thundering guitars and smashing drums, you get something that shakes you to the very core. You get something that fits in right up there with bands like Deafheaven and Nothing. You get something that ingrains itself in your mind and wraps its hand around the very fibers that make you what you are. You get Black Clouds. Everything Is Not Going To Be OK set the stage and raised the curtains. Dreamcation now takes this spotlight and in doing so, it leaves you further mesmerized.

This album's as guitar-centric, solo-draped and as intricate as you'd expect it to be. And then some. Coming onto the label of former Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly proved to be a very clever move because the production value and overall heft of this record feels higher quality and more theatrical. "Don't Look For Me" signals this in the onset with the cryptic, sinister and ominous gaze that these Washington, D.C. instrumentalists love to paint. What works even better this go around is that they glitter the album with more black metal tidbits. Everything though, comes together like a thing of beauty and flows so creatively and more importantly, organically.

The heavy aspects however are even more mentionable because they breath extra life into a record that's already flying so high by the time you get here. Case in point, "And Then I Dove." Powerful. While there are a few interludes here and there, tracks like these keep up a frenetic momentum and more so, maintain the dreamy edge and psychedelic range of the band. With the bells tolling on "Accept The Mystery," you're once more in awe at how many curveball elements Black Clouds pack into their arsenal.

Melody meets heavy...and not a beat's skipped. Produced by J. Robbins of Jawbox and mixed/mastered by Chris Common (Isis, the Mars Volta, Pelican), it's no surprise how smooth the record unfolds. It shocks you into life with its jagged nature but at day's end, it rests a hand on your shoulder as if to assure you things will be alright. Black Clouds cultivate an atmosphere of warmth despite being so abrasive musically. That's a challenge that few bands can pull off, especially without vocals. Highly recommended.