• Clouds
  • Cloud Factory EP (self-released) 1990 
  • Loot EP (self-released) 1991 
  • Octopus (self-released) 1992 
  • Thunderhead (Aus. Red Eye) 1993  (Elektra) 1995 

It’s not the whiplash modern-rock diversity of Thunderhead that makes Clouds’ American debut (the group’s third album overall) underwhelming, although the Australian quartet does display a shameful lack of stylistic commitment. Dabbling in shoegazing, cocktail loungetime, folk-rock, Pixienoise and Breederpop isn’t in and of itself a bad thing, but there’s nothing specifically Cloud-like to connect the dots into a picture that isn’t just an amorphous your-name-here blob. Singers (and co-founders; the male rhythm section joined separately after a 1990 EP) Jodi Phillis (guitar) and Patricia Young (bass) have nice, generically alluring voices which they shape into fine harmonies over the busy guitars and brisk rhythms; if the songs didn’t settle for okay bits rather than a stupendous hook or a singalong chorus, there might be something to hold onto here. As it is, Thunderhead piles up a bunch of what could be promising B-sides, lacking only a center and a point.

[Ira Robbins]