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Obscured By Clouds: Thermospheric

When is a live album not a live album? As Obscured By Clouds prove, it's a moot point. Recording four Seattle shows and a further one from Los Angeles, this psychedelic, progressive outfit have collected the best moments for posterity and presented them – certainly in the audio release, I haven't seen the visual version that also exist – free of crowd noise, band interaction and, well, all the things that make a live album sound live. If, like me, you're new to a band whose Pink Floyd inspired name only really hints at what's going on, then you'd never even suspect that Thermospheric isn't simply a new studio album.

Anyway, it is live and as so brings together seven of the eight songs first released on the Psychecletic album alongside two new numbers, "Miraculous" and "Bleed". For fellow newbies, while the clues are all there – the far out album titles, lyrics about faith, space travel and the search for the soul, Pink Floyd album name used for the band moniker and spacey album art – there's also much more going on. Yes, early to mid-Floyd is used as a starting point, but what the likes of "Faith's Soul" and "Soft Cheeked And Worried" revolve round is much tougher and rougher than you might expect, even if there are numerous textures and an intentional fragility revealed in places. Frontman (and band leader) William Weikart also possesses a more forceful vocal attack than you might expect, leading a decidedly psychedelic experience to ultimately feel far heavier than initially expected. In fact with a style that at times reminds of Justin Sullivan of New Model Army, much of Thermospheric hits like a hybrid between aggressive rock and the race for space.

It's a full on experience as washes of psych- keys collide to grating guitars and an opinionated vocal stance, "Consider This A Message" conveyed as more of a challenge than a cajoling hand. Here the guitar solo snarls and snaps and reinforces what can be a persuasive approach. Although, across the eight tracks presented (nine on the visual versions) where things can be held back is through a similar pacing from song to song and that most pretty much fall into the same idea of build slow, hit hard, then taper away. Not one track shows as a potential weakness, but taken as a whole, the impact can be lost slightly along the way.

Credit to Obscured By Clouds, for while, thanks to their name, I'm sure they're sick of being asked about Pink Floyd, in the end Thermospheric hits like a reasonably individual slice of what otherwise might have been some well worn ideas. It's also worth reiterating that this is a live recording, and as such, it feels right to congratulate the band on providing seamless performances and an excellently sounding disc. So much so, that rather oddly, it really doesn't feel like a live album at all...


Track Listing
1. Soft Cheeked & Worried (Live)
2. Zoë Zolofft (Live)
3. Miraculous (Live)
4. Faiths' Soul (Live)
5. Consider This a Message (Live)
6. Cast Close the Gate (Live)
7. Love's Love (Live)
8. Bleed (Live)

Added: October 21st 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Thermospheric @ Obscured By Clouds online
Hits: 370
Language: english

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