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Obscured By Clouds

Thermospheric

Review by Larry Toering
This is a live recording to celebrate the release of Obscured by Clouds' debut album Psycheclectic. Not being familiar with that album, the songs get some description here, as well.  This earns the prog tag for its Pink Floyd influenced style of music/ That's mixed with a David Bowie and Nick Drake cocktail with some metal thrown in from the background of founding member William Weikart. This all culminates for an interesting mixture of colossal proportions, while obviously paying homage to said artists. Six cuts from the album are featured with two new previously unreleased songs added to the show for something new.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Soft Cheeked & Worried

To start with this plays like a full concert album, but one track is dropped and two new ones added. That is as much as I know. As you take in the first few seconds it produces a feeling like you’re experiencing Pink Floyd with David Bowie guesting on vocals. This is done to an awesome effect. In fact, it comes on so strong you have to make time to take it seriously if you haven’t heard the song before. The thunder and rain effect at the end is a cool topper.

Zoe Zolofit
This has some great sitar lines throughout it, with an esoteric vibe that won’t quit. The track itself is somewhere between David Bowie and the Moody Blues sounding like they’re trying hard to be pop, which can’t be a bad experiment. The drums help keep it enjoyable.
Miraculous
"Epic" is the word, once this gets going. It takes you back to the psychedelic times without losing you in the idea of visiting the past. There’s clearly a storyline to the lyrics, and I sense some Peter Gabriel influence, which also doesn’t hurt it. It picks up nicely toward the end and takes it completely over the top with searing guitars and mad vocals. This is just an overall jubilant performance, even though an obviously dark tale. There’s a great deep track underneath it all. And this is a new piece, not featured on the debut album.
Faith’s Soul
This is even more interesting, as the show starts to peak. The melodies are fantastic and the vocals more contained, with excellent guitars pretty much leading you by the ear. It’s not the best but not the worst track in the set. It does have a certain accessibility about it. But it’s still perhaps on the heavy side of soft rock in structure.
Consider This A Message
An even better track comes to life here with a commanding presence to draw you into the whole picture all of a sudden. This is where it defines the prog definition as far as material goes, and likely the best part of the show from a listening standpoint. There will be a Blu-Ray with a secret track released, as well. It contains a high definition video of every track. This is as good a time as any to mention that, as it gets easy to picture when hearing this track performed live.
Cast Close To The Gate
This track itself doesn’t resonate too well with me, but it’s bombastic stuff, if you like that sort of thing.  As for performances it does the business as well as anything else in the set, and I like the sound effects.
Love’s Love
A ballad enters the scene at just the right time, and it’s all very cinematic sounding before it turns into a more pop laden track with a romantic feel that suits the title. It comes along appropriately and once again well-performed with a lot of heart and soul. It also features a few nice mood changes.
Bleed
This is the second of two new tracks that aren’t featured on the debut album.  Wind sounds kick this one off, and a haunting acoustic guitar riff takes over and dominates the entire show. Some string backing here and there adds a nice texture, but it’s mostly the guitar that carries the show on this melancholy moment. It manages to pick up ferociously in the center before coming back down in classic fashion. It bites at just the right times, and that’s why it bleeds. A lot of percussive energy winds up displayed.
The Drip Feed (Spoken Word)
The set closes with something that really isn’t spoken word form, but plays out that way because of how the vocals carry the lyrics. It’s a narrative thing and a great closer that probably could’ve been used up by any track in the set, but I’m sure it all makes sense in the thick of the Psycheclectic plot.
 
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