The Cloud Room

The Cloud Room

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The debut album by New York City's Cloud Room is frustratingly spotty, with moments of genuine brilliance in between songs that are frustratingly ordinary. Opening track (and first single) "Hey Now Now" marries an archly suave, David Bowie-like lead vocal (Berlin era) to the kind of nervy post-punk thrum that became endemic on the indie charts since the rise of Interpol, adding a catchy-as-anything chorus and a better than average sense of hooks that keeps it from sounding like generic new wave pastiche the way that groups like the Bravery and Louis XIV often do. It's a genuinely brilliant single, up there with the Killers' "Mr. Brightside," the Kaiser Chiefs' "I Predict a Riot," and the Decemberists' "16 Military Wives" as one of the great alt-pop singles of the first half of 2005. The Cloud Room would be hard pressed to follow it up, and unfortunately, they're not up to the task. "Blackout!" has a nervy, tightly wound edge that would do Gary Numan proud, but while "Waterfall" sounds like it might be going for the angularity of a classic Fall single, it gets bogged down by a dreary tune. Similarly, "Beautiful Mess" just sounds like yet more post-Franz Ferdinand dance-pop. With a little more effort, the Cloud Room could stand proud with the other mid-decade new wave-of-new wave bands, but their debut album doesn't quite fulfill their immense promise.

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