CD Review of Psycheclectic by Obscured by Clouds
Recommended if you like
Pink Floyd, David Gilmour,
Roger Waters
Obscured by Clouds: Psycheclectic

Reviewed by Jason Thompson


o is it safe to say, now that Richard Wright is dead, that Pink Floyd will be no more? A difficult question to answer, really, given that Dave Gilmour and Nick Mason basically recorded A Momentary Lapse of Reason with Wright credited in a secondary fashion. Does it really matter, anyway? Almost everything the “band” recorded after The Wall was marred in some form or fashion, whether it was Roger Waters taking complete control, or losing it and the other guys going off and recording with their own version of Pink Floyd. Dark Side of the Moon is going to sell forever, as it should. Another note need not be recorded.

But that doesn’t stop others from taking the Pink Floyd influence and giving it a go. Take, for instance, Obscured by Clouds. Taking their name from one of Floyd’s lesser albums, but sounding like they’re all about the arena version of Pink musically, these guys have lofty ambitions. So lofty, in fact, that according to their own website, the album includes “subconscious murmured dialogue that crossfades into each song.” Not only that, but the album fades in with the sound of a bass drum replicating the steady rhythm of a heartbeat. All right, so let’s get one thing straight: Dark Side this is not -- and not even close.

The opening track, “Soft Cheeked & Worried” (that title actually seems more befitting of the Cocteau Twins), features main Cloud William Weikart doing his best impression of David Gilmour vocally. The overall sound is a mix of something between “Have a Cigar,” minus the funk, and the bombastic pretension of anything off of The Division Bell. At first listen, it’s almost impressive, as if this band is really pulling off the Floyd sound really well, but by the end of the song it just feels like they’re trying too damned hard.

But then the band veers away from Pink and offers up “Zoe Zolofft,” which features Weikart’s vocals booming larger than life and heading into cartoonish territory. In fact, that’s the perfect way to describe this song: It’s very over the top and ridiculous, and an assault on the senses that doesn’t really offer up anything besides the audio equivalent of big explosions and wacky mayhem erupting in either a popcorn movie or a cartoon. Something tells you this is supposed to sound deep and strange, but it merely comes off as silly.

Then there’s a track like “Love’s Love,” that hearkens back to the bad days of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer and such wacky atrocities as “Still…You Turn Me On.” Can Weikart not treat these songs without the subtlety of a steamroller when he sings them? We get it – you have a big, soaring voice, but hell, even David Gilmour knew when to tone it down (check “Fat Old Sun” for proof). Yet there is that side of Obscured by Clouds that is everything epic and grandiose about ye olde prog rock bands. “Faiths’ Soul” isn’t too far from Rush after they dropped the long concepts. That’s not to say it’s good Rush, mind you, just that it provokes the comparison.

The biggest mess on the album, though, is undoubtedly “Hit Little Box,” which sounds like a chaotic disaster. Featuring lickety-split drum pounding, overly distorted and compressed guitars, and Weikart sounding like he’s on a manic speed binge behind the mic, this was a song that should have been left in the can. It sounds like it was recorded merely to be as annoying as it could possibly be. In that regard, it’s a resounding success. But hey, it all comes to a muddled end with the instrumental noodling of “The Drip Feed,” which constitutes nothing but a lazy seven minutes on the artists’ part.

Obscured by Clouds is fooling no one. There are undoubtedly some folks who really enjoy this stuff, but it would hard to imagine any hardcore Pink Floyd fans really sinking their teeth into it. In fact, they’d almost be better served by buying one of those goofy “Symphonic Music of…” quickie ripoff albums featuring their beloved idols’ music than venturing into the weeds that surround this release. But you have to make a buck somehow. This is Obscured by Clouds’ way of doing that.

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