Clouds - Legendary Demo (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Legendary Demo (2007)

Hydra Head

Fifty years ago, rock 'n' roll was personified by Chuck Berry. By Jerry Lee Lewis. By Bill Haley and the Comets. Back around the time of the genre's inception, everything was fresh and exciting -- those rhythms were the soundtrack to the lives of many back then. Rock 'n' roll was a living, breathing part of public concsiousness and it was important.

Now, in 2008, rock 'n' roll as most people think of it is represented by Nickelback and Maroon 5.

Sad days for such an important genre.

Fear not, however, because the spirit of rock 'n' roll, albeit in a much more racuous form, is alive and well in Clouds. This hyperkinetic outfit has a roster that reads like a who's who of punk and hardcore; boasting members of Cave In, the Suicide File, Panic and Kid Kilowatt, Clouds have all the necessary parts in place for a dynamic adventure of a record.

The Legendary Demo is just that, an eight-course meal that features elements of jazz, blues, metal and dub to go along with the rock 'n' roll rhythms that fire on more cylinders than most band can fathom. The first track alone, "New Amnesia," is a tour de force of rock that's as infectious as it is powerful. The band churns out quick rhythms and quicker riffs by the minute, resulting in a blast of energy that sets the tone for what is an album full of it.

"Pressure" picks up right where "New Amnesia" left off, crossing driving rhythms with brilliant riffing for a sound that needs little in the way of vocals to really catch the ear. The vocals, though, are an integral part of Clouds' sound -- the schizoprhenic delivery of Adam McGrath combined with the buzzsaw riffing makes for a whirlwind of noise that never for a second drops in intensity.

Comfortable as the band is on the album, "Quartulli Dub" is perhaps where they shine the brightest. The longest and most varied song of the eight combines a gentle undercurrent with a delicate arrangement of guitar and saxophone to delightful results. This is where the band really shows the soul of thier rock 'n' roll, the saxophone's slow, mellow sounds are nicely contrasted by the slick blues licks in the background, and the longer the song goes on, the better it sounds.

Clouds have carved a unique niche for themselves with this record, and if nothing else, they've got the soul and spirit of rock 'n' roll on their side.

Sounds like a winner to me.