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Cloud Boat, electrostatic clouds

Perched high up on its mound of concrete and green grass, St Pancras Old Church is London’s smallest musical church. Compared to Union Chapel, this one clearly is Polly Pocket-sized. Anyway, I thought my first night at St Pancras Old Church was going to be spent attending Sunday mass. Yes, concerts also take place in churches. Inside, Cloud Boat was preparing its musical service, and I was eagerly awaiting the opening of the doors. At that moment, I didn’t quite realise I was going to attend the most beautiful mass of my life. If I had to choose between a nipper bawling its eyes out with its water-covered forehead, chavs joining together dressed in white, or a guy going on about the whys and wherefores of life, I’d largely prefer the memory of a band who uses the edifice for what it is: a place of sharing – and a place of sheer madness.




As teenagers, Tom Clarke and Sam Ricketts played in metal and post-rock bands before turning towards production. During their studies in their respective universities, they were both attracted to electronic music. Ricketts in particular, who was already hanging out in the capital’s underground clubs, FWD>> and DMZ, known for their dubstep, drum’n’bass, grime and all types of other tachycardiac pleasures. Once their studies over, they began work on new inspirations. Cloud Boat emerged from the skies in 2011 under the revived label R&S, and released the incredible “Lions On The Beach”, offering a hybrid version of staggered dubstep and melancholic folk, caught somewhere in between Hood and Burial. After a few remixes, their first album “Book Of Hours” followed, astounding with its ultra-romanticism and clinical smoothness.



In 2014, with the wind in their sails after their first golden creation, Cloud Boat returned with “Model Of You”, a second album marked with a radical evolution in their music. Their dramatic mist dispersed into something richer, more adventurous and resolutely more cheerful. The ethereal emotion of the start fades into a faster and sustained rhythm, carried by transfixed, hypnotic pop, as demonstrated in “Hideaway” and “Carmine”. The man in charge of helping Cloud Boat with their transformation is English producer Andy Savours, who also worked with My Bloody Valentine, The Horrors, and the famous Icelandic dreamers Sigur Ros. The result is here, sharp, clean and most certainly indelible. Hard to starboard, lads! The boat in the clouds is nowhere near ready to drop anchor.


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Julien Catala
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