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Future Clouds & Radar

16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 24, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Double CD debut album originally released in 2007; Led by Robert Harrison (Cotton Mather), FS&D combined indie pop, psychedelic stylings reminicent of The Beatles and XTC and the brightness of Starlight Mints into a unique sound that earned them critical praise from the indie pressinistas

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Robert Harrison, the creative force behind Future Clouds & Radar, set an ambitious goal for himself and his musical cohorts: to create a double album that sustained itself in every regard from beginning to end. Having suffered a serious spinal injury five years ago, he was confined to his bed for a couple of years as he slowly recovered. The 27 songs he brought to his band are not so much a portrait of a man on the mend as a look at the emotional and creative forces that whirl through an active mind in a still body. While the utter sprawl of pop smarts, riveting hooks, mesmerizing arrangements, and alluring lyrics bring forth comparisons to Robert Pollard, there's greater sonic variety (including judiciously deployed horns at crucial junctures) and painstakingly finessed production decisions. The songs call out for attention on first play; subsequent listens yield a world of subtle nuances and surprises. Harrison met his goal: file this next to the White Album. --David Greenberger

Disc: 1
1. Birds Of Prey
2. Let Me Get Your Coat
3. Hurricane Judy
4. Drugstore Bust
5. This Is Really A Book
6. You Will Be Loved
7. Quicksilver
8. Where'S My Drink / Holy Janet Comes On Waves
9. Wake Up And Live
10. Our Time
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Quicksilver 2
2. Get Your Boots On
3. Build Havana
4. Dr. No
5. Back Seat Silver Jet Sighter
6. Malice
7. The Great Escape
8. Letters To Juniors
9. Altitude
10. Cowboy Weather
See all 14 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 24, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2007
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Star Apple Kingdom
  • ASIN: B000NQR7U2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,688 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Otwell on April 25, 2007
Format: Audio CD
What a joy it was to hear Robert Harrison's voice a few months ago on a podcast I listen to. I lived in Austin in the 1990's when his old band Cotton Mather was making some of the best guitar pop of the decade. Their album Kontiki was an amazing blend of lo-fi Beatles, ELO orchestration, and endlessly catchy tunes. Their next release "The Big Picture" was under-appreciated, but was a gem. (All of Cotton Mathers' CDs now go for forty or fifty dollars on the used market.) I was always especially a sucker for Cotton Mather's guitar player Whit Willams' playing, but it's clear with Harrison's new project how much of Cotton Mather's sound was his own.

It's pretty audacious to put out a double album as a first release, but Harrison's a mature songwriter, so he's obviously got a backlog of great tunes. There are a few songs here that are as good as anything Cotton Mather ever put out, "Hurricane Judy" is a dense, catchy, guitar-driven tune; it's impossible not to call it Beatlesesque. "Get Your Boots On" is almost heavy, well, at least as heavy as this kind of thing gets. "Build Havana" is lovely, but in a totally different way. "Dr No" is a great tune with some of Harrison's cleverest lyrics yet. It reminds me of the fussier stuff on CM's "Cotton is King", sort of reminiscent of Squeeze. If "Back Seat Silver Jet Sighter" doesn't take off in quite the direction I'd hoped it would based on the first few notes, it certainly goes somewhere wonderful, ending up with horns and tubular bells chiming away.

In short, if you ever liked Cotton Mather, you should like Future Clouds a lot, though it's not quite as direct as that band's music. It takes a few listens to get into the tunes.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Philip Levy on May 7, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Other reviewers have mentioned the prior pop music contributions of Robert Harrison, leader of this group. At the helm of the Beatles-inspired pop rock group, Cotton Mather, he was responsible for two of the greatest releases of the '90s, namely "Kontiki" and "The Big Picture". For those not familiar with the vocal qualities of Robert Harrison, his sound is reminiscent of John Lennon which, of course, reinforces the Beatles connection.. Therefore, it is impressive how fresh sounding and non-derivative is the music that Robert Harrison produces.

Coming some six years since Cotton Mather's last effort, this release shows unmistakable links to the past in that Harrison "still has it" in terms of his ability to write great pop songs. That is really where he excels relative to some of the influences mentioned as contributing to this group's sound. Yes, there is a probable Flaming Lips' touch in the orchestral elements and psychedelic flourishes ala that group as well as 13th Floor Elevators. However, the songs here are, for the most part, outstanding, much better than those of the "influences".

Over the span of two CDs, there are only a few cuts that I would classify as filler. The highlights: "Let Me Get Your Coat", "Drugstore Bust", "You Will Be Loved", "Quicksilver", "Holy Janet Comes On Waves", "Our Time", "Build Havana", "Back Seat Silver Jet Sighter", "Malice Of Stars", "The Great Escape", "Altitude", "Armitage Shanks", "Safety Zone". I agree with another reviewer that this is the best popular music release thus far in 2007.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MarathonMan on May 3, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Cotton Mather were a great band, simple as really, and with the endorsement of the Gallagher brothers of Oasis, they did manage to get a reasonable fanbase in the UK. I must admit having purchased Cotton is King at a record fair in the mid 90's I hoped that they would forever be my little secret but alas no.

Anyway, Cotton is King came and went and I thought that was my lot but then to my surprise I sourced Kontiki from the USA and my love affair with Cotton Mather was back on. Further releases including the stop gap Hotel Baltimore and their final effort The Big Picture confirmed the fact that Robert Harrison was a very ambitious and talented song writer. When I heard they had disbanded I was extremely upset, although I was proud of the fact I had managed to see them live on two occasions in London. Something I never thought would have been possible when I purchased Cotton is King all those years back.

So then silence for a few years and then I got wind of new developments, it looked as though Harrison was going to be working on solo stuff and a new record was possible. It then turned out that he had indeed formed a new band, the name Future Clouds and Radar. Word from the camp was that Harrison had got a huge number of songs written and being the typically ambitious songwriter that he is, had decided to release a double album as FC&R's debut.

The problem with double albums is often quality control and when I heard some of the tracks were overly experimental I must admit I was very concerned. Sure Cotton Mather did experiment but at the end of the day the classic songwriting shone through. Had Harrison really gone away from his Beatle-esque beliefs and gone totally experimental? In a word "no".
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