[24 February 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
It’s difficult to know what to do with Cloud Becomes Your Hand, and that’s a good thing. The band’s sound has its roots in a sort of spacey bizarre-pop world, between Bowie and the Flaming Lips, accented by move avant-garde eccentricities. The best parts of Rocks or Cakes use strange angles to give pop songs new shapes. “Theme From Baby Age” is a clash of sounds from free-jazz, space-rock, ambient electronic, and Middle Eastern sounds. The elements never mesh but instead overlap in curious, ill-fitting yet sweet ways. “Waste Park” is a buzzing drone piece, that crumbles in slow motion rather than holding its shape. “Bay Shamps” is a raucous exploration of clashing the dreamy with the dusty, the ruminant with the zealous, and its on-a-dime shifts work. These moments show the potential in the band’s wide-open and wide-eyed look at different musical stylings. For a band starting out in so many directions, there are bound to be paths that don’t pan out, as on the chunky, toy-like electronics of “Bees Going Postal” or the self-serious lists and space of “Nuclei Spinoffs”. Rocks or Cakes falls off when the eccentricities feel forced, where twisting genre results in rendering them cartoonish. Luckily there’s enough potential here to offset missteps, and Cloud Becomes Your Hand hints at a bright future often on this record.