Ides of Space

There Are No New Clouds

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Surely the members of this young Australian band are fibbing when they tell the public this is their first record. They also must be carving out some sort of figment of reality when they say they had been together less than two years prior to making their "debut." Yeah, right -- and effects pedals might fly out of Kevin Shields' backside. There Are No New Clouds is too assured, too focused, and too good to be a debut. (Technically, it's not their first record; it's a compilation of two EPs released in their native land.) Any rough edges the band might have had have been lopped off, any bum songs the band might have had kicking around have apparently been jettisoned. Admittedly, it's not as if their sound is all that revolutionary. They don't appear to be heading down any new or bizarre paths, at least not yet. Take the best elements of early-'90s shoegaze bands from the U.K. and add the best elements of mid-'90s indie bands from the U.S. That's what you essentially have here, and it's far less boring than what it appears to be on screen or paper. What impresses most is the fact that there are no endearing "new band syndrome" foibles here, as heard in most of the debut (or even second) records released by the bands Ides of Space is carrying the torch for -- no off-key vocals, no limited musicianship, no bungled mixing jobs. Guitars soar, boyish multi-part harmonies are effortlessly offered, and good old-fashioned hooks breeze through on more than a few occasions. Just what is this band missing? Apparently nothing. Ides of Space might be something of a throwback, but this sounds too fresh, not dated. Needless to say, this is a band with a very bright future ahead of it.

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