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Vanguard: Clouds Forming Crowns - Self-titled
By Eric Bodrero

The creative genius of Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices spills over into the Tim Tobias fronted “Clouds Forming Crowns”, a project delving into the familiar GBV formula, but expanding it by adding an almost classic rock sound the likes of Bob Dylan and Neil Young, and a sense of warm nostalgia thanks to Tim’s brother Todd, who produced the last three GBV albums.

Clouds Forming Crowns makes use of a more gentle approach to the melodies via a heavy dose of acoustic guitar and a gentle, weeping lyrical atmosphere where hushed, soothing riffs of the album closer “Night Playing Tricks” and the sugar-sweet “Collapsing The First String” are jolted out of their haunted existence by the deep-cutting guitars of “Wish-Hound” and stripped down to a shoe-gazer sound in “Minus Drivers”.

Long-time fans of GBV may be hesitant in listening to Clouds Forming Crowns sans one Robert Pollard. While there is no denying that Robert is a melodious mastermind, he is also hardly missed here. The Tobias brothers aren’t exactly highbrow slackers, and can convincingly pull their own weight.

Clouds Forming Crowns’ debut album has that lo-fi feel to it made popular by such indie pioneers as Pavement, Modest Mouse, and well, Guided By Voices themselves, something some first-time listeners may not welcome or appreciate upon first listen. However, Tim and Todd Tobias obviously know how to make brilliant music, and they put their near-best foot forward here on their self-titled effort. It will be exceedingly interesting to see where they go from here. If this record is any indication, and noting the track record of the Tobias brothers’ previous band, they’ll go far.


CD Info & Links

Clouds Forming Crowns - Self-titled
Label: Morphius Records
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