This deep and melancholic debut brilliantly showcases them as part of a generation for whom electronic production and songwriting are far from separate worlds similar to childhood friend James Blake.
It’s been a great journey so far and their live performances continue to be at the core. “I think what sets us apart” says Sam, “is that we can do it completely live, not just rearranging songs but building them from the bottom up.” It's this which has led to the staggering confidence of 'Book of Hours'. Soft-edged but monumentally huge bass tones in 'Youthern' support Sam's Ennio Morricone-esque guitars and Tom's velvety folk lament. 'Dréan' is even more bare, a fingerpicked acoustic ballad with insidious waves of background guitar that well up, sounding both ancient and sci-fi despite having none of the obvious signifiers of “futuristic” electronica. On 'Wanderlust' Tom hits a liturgical tone, a hymnal yearning filling the song as a cloud of Burial-like crackles rise up around it creating pressure despite their delicacy & showing how it's possible for Cloud Boat to maintain intensity with the most unlikely source materials.
It's easy to see how Cloud Boat's sound could work for demanding and hedonistic techno crowds yet this is also an album for headphone reveries.
1. Lions On The Beach
5. Amber Road
6. You Find Me
9. Pink Grin I
10. Pink Grin II
11. Kowloon Bridge