Cloud Boat at the Lexington
Cloud Boat have gained notoriety on the live circuit supporting the likes of James Blake and Mount Kimbie over the last few years, and more recently touring with Ghostpoet in Europe on his Some Say I So I Say Light tour. Last night the London-based group headlined at The Lexington to promote the release of their debut album Book of Hours.
The duo, made up of Sam Ricketts and Tom Clarke, arrived on stage and picked up their instruments to showcase their brand of ambient electronica. CB’s sound is an intangible mixture of Ben Howard, Bon Iver and James Blake; it consists of programmed drummed loops, heavy sub bass and kicks, drowned by guitar and vocals that are steeped in heavy reverb and delay. What becomes of it all is an unsettling and intriguing experience.
Clarke often uses autotune for his vocal to purposely sound female, but his natural voice is equally impressive when stripped and isolated. Similarly the guitar work of Ricketts is at its most potent when restrained. Wanderlust is like a slow assault on the senses before it creeps up and reveals itself with Clarke’s eastern European wail of a melody towards the end of the track. The finger plucking beauty of Drean is a moment of reflection that contains some poignant lines.
None of the songs played were out of place: Amber Road was an example of a lesser-known track which appears on the long-awaited LP; when Youthern gets into full swing there is a slight dancehall and reggae vibe hidden within its elements when played live; Hammerspace has a certain punch behind it, whilst their most popular hit Lions on the Beach is more arousing and cajoles the listener into a dance frenzy.
Cloud Boat’s set may come across as moody and depressing but there is a technical mastery behind the music which must be applauded, especially when recreated in a live setting. The lyrics and vocals are often hypnotising and add to the overall atmosphere: dark but somehow reassuring. This was a totally faultless performance which strongly indicates the growth of the band.
Photos: Sarah Tsang
For further information about Cloud Boat and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Youthern here: