Music Review: Jphono1 “Know Your Clouds”

by Douglas Cowie on 19 February 2013

Know Your Clouds cover artJphono1 Know Your Clouds Potluck Foundation

Stratus! On the debut Jphono1 album, John Harrison pulled together every passing sound as he floated through space and glued them to his simple melodies, and with his band North Elementary he proves that just because gentlemen prefer a pretty melody doesn’t mean they can’t rock their balls off at the same time.  Cirrus! Here on Know Your Clouds these two impulses meet somewhere in the middle: not floating out in space, but neither with a bulge that says yes, that’s a melody in my pocket but I’m happy to see you, too.  Cumulus!  Big lush acoustic guitars greet you with one and a half minutes of “Saturday Blues 2nd Round” and the swagger rides into town for the equally brief “Wail of Women”.  Cumulonimbus! Elsewhere, electronic bleeps keep you hopping and on your toes as the vocals tell you it’s a wicked world on the space-jelly slow “Forever Right Here” and a mid-paced banjo plonking tries not to freak out in the face of the growing menace of electronic feedback wash and a fuzzed-out guitar.  Altostratus! The title track presents an understated, John Carpenter-esque synthesizer melody that soundtracks you to the end of the album over twelve engaging minutes. Stratocumulus! Where Living Is Easy made me want to jump on my space horse right away and canter to the weightless part of the universe, the genre-melting on this album took hold a little more gently, weaving its tendrils into me and asking for a few listens before I realized it’d grown benath me like a beanstalk was raising me aloft.  Altocumulus! It’s all the better for it.  Cirrocumulus! The limited edition vinyl is sold out (and I’m kicking myself for being too lazy to get one myself) but you can still buy it on CD or cassette for only five bucks if you visit the link above.  Know your clouds!

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