CLOUD Control really ought to build a time machine.
The Australian band have just won the antipodean equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize for their debut LP, Bliss Release, and recently supported the Foo Fighters.
But they should have been supporting Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young at LA’s Troubadour. And that should have been about 30 years ago.
With their blended harmonies, psychedelic lyricism and building guitar parts, Cloud Control sound like they’ve stumbled out of a West Coast jam, not a seedy Sydney suburb (the band were living in the city’s red light district).
But it’s not surprising the band have incorporated Sixties psych into their sound, as singer and keyboardist Heidi Lenffer explains.
“We love Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and I learned to harmonise listening to The Hollies. And Neil Young’s a favourite of the whole band. Our parents got us into all that.”
Cloud Control’s musical inheritance from years of exposure to CSNY has led the Australian press to claim that there “must be something in the water” in the Outback region of Australia where the band grew up.
This led the band to write one of their album clinchers, There’s Nothing in the Water, a catchy, pop-structured number with falsetto harmonies and drudgy guitar.
“The lyrics relate to the comments in the press that there ‘must be something in the water’ for these two bands to have come out of the Blue Mountains but also the lyrics were written while one of the band members was in India, watching a funeral procession.
“He wrote these lyrics over there and meanwhile we were in Australia and wrote the music and they just went together really well.”
“We write music first and the lyrics always come after,” says Heidi. “Though I regard my voice and the harmonising as an instrument in itself, I probably use it more than my keyboard.”
The psych-folk sound Cloud Control has become renowned for is not the result of a conscious decision, however. “We formed as a band to compete in a university band comp – we were only supposed to be together for a few weeks but the sound just naturally evolved and we stayed together.”
Five years later the band are signed to the Infectious record label, they’ve supported Foo Fighters, one of the biggest bands on the planet, they’ve won the Aussie equivalent of the Mercury Music prize and are now living in London. “We decided that we really wanted to crack the European scene and to do that being here in London is the best place for us.”
The success has taken a while to sink in, though. “When Bliss Release first came out we had no idea whether anyone would like it but you can’t predict anything. But as soon as we put the promo copies out the reviews were really good and we were on a real high. It took a while to get it out over in the UK though but it’s been released at last and now we’re really keen to get a second album done.”
The band have just started writing theur second album, which Lenffer believes will be out by next summer.
“It may be a bit different to the first album but we’ll see – we’ve all been listening to a lot of different stuff lately so that’s bound to come through.
“Music’s like cooking – there are certain recipes and flavours that complement other recipes and flavours.”
lCloud Control play at Bungalow and Bears on October 1.