In 2010, Cloud Control released their aptly titled debut album, Bliss Release, extensively toured around the country, and then virtually disappeared.

The NSW four-piece relocated to the UK, and were practically unheard from.

Now, three years since their debut, it’s obvious that the expats were hard at work creating the mature, refined, and brilliant sophomore effort, Dream Cave.

Their sophomore LP is a remarkable and impressive step forward for Cloud Control, delivering a stronger, more layered sound that allows each band member’s talent to flourish.

Opener ‘Scream Rave’ sets the atmosphere immediately, with the two-minute long song slowly building from heavily distorted vocals and a sparse backing, before leading directly into ‘Dojo Raising’, the first taster released by the band.

The latter is a vintage Cloud Control song with an edge; it’s effortlessly catchy and easily enjoyable with breezy synths, upbeat drumming and bouncy bass, but contains true lyrical and musical depth.

Lead singer and guitarist Alister Wright intimately delivers heartbreakingly real lines such as “I could beat myself down / You don’t need to bother” and “I’m lazy / And I don’t want anything”.

The foursome move beyond their folk-tinged origins, away from the jangly pop of their debut, and towards a new, mature, darker sound that may require a few extra listens to truly connect with, but has so much more to offer in the long run.

‘Promises’ typifies this new sound, with the soul-tinged track led by Jeremy Kelshaw’s driving bass line, while Wright’s voice has never sounded so strong or powerful, dominating the whole track.

It ebbs and flows, building to Wright’s impressive guitar solo that never would have found a place on Bliss Release, while Ulrich Lenffer’s drumming provides a more-than-solid foundation.

Across the record, Cloud Control deliver on the massive potential that they displayed on  their debut, and show diversity and versatility in their songwriting, with each song possessing a new and intriguing element that ensures the cohesive 11-tracks remains constantly interesting and engaging.

According to Wright, select vocal and guitar parts were recorded in actual caves, and this subterranean influence becomes obvious towards Dream Cave’s conclusion, with the final minute and a half of ‘Tombstone’ descending into atmospheric chanting backed by dripping water.

The title-track and album-closer features acoustic guitar and, along with Wright’s deeper vocals, it surprisingly resembles the likes of folk crooners Edward Sharpe bringing a restrained and anthemic end to the band’s triumphant return.

Dream Cave will undoubtedly be one of the best releases of the year, and hopefully lead to well-deserved success and recognition abroad for the Australian band that has already made inroads following their relocation.

Cloud Control have released an unmitigated success, showcasing the versatility and talents that the young foursome from the Blue Mountains possess in abundance.

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