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Review: 'Desert Clouds'
'Nothing Beyond the Cage'   

-  Genre: 'Rock' -  Release Date: '18th January 2019'

Our Rating:
First off, kudos to Desert Clouds for some nice packaging for their debut long player. As a fan of physical media, I’ve always considered CD to be the lowest ranking by virtue of being the most impersonal, most overtly mass-produced and disposable. Sonically inferior to vinyl but without the immediacy and convenience of downloads…. What’s the CD got going for it? It’s amazing how some carboard can make you feel different about a release, and the gloss-highlighted gatefold of ‘Nothing Beyond the Cage’ does the job.

The message is a shade confusing, conceptually: the title suggests nihilistic entrapment, while the artwork depicts white-hot desertscapes and swirling galaxies as viewed from the surface of a barren plant or moon, on which a lonely figure trudges.

This perhaps speaks more about the album’s contents than anything: the 7 tracks on ‘Nothing Beyond the Cage’ mine a seam of lugubrious, anguished grunge. The verses are sparse and trudge a furrow of intersection, before bursting into driving choruses that focus all of the pain and angst into three chords and a shedload of overdrive. There are moments of quiet melancholy in abundance, but there are some swaggering psychedelic riff-outs which almost balance the mood – almost.

‘Speed of Light’ brings some brooding, downbeat country and a dash of Dinosaur Jr to the party. It’s one of those parties where everyone stands around, looking awkward, mumbling and chain-smoking, and you feel a dull ache of despondency at the futility of everything. And yet somehow, it’s ok: a soaring guitar solo, an ascending chord sequence give something, however small, to uplift a heavy, empty heart.

  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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Desert Clouds - Nothing Beyond the Cage