Future Clouds and Radar | Peoria
Most Likely To: confirm that size does matter.
After making its plunge into the music scene with a 27-song self-titled album, Future Clouds and Radar follows with Peoria, a quick, 36 minute, 8 track set that proves sometimes more is just… more. The former CD leapt out of the speakers with a pop-influenced aura and quirky yet inspiring instrumentals, making their first steps seem promising.
Singer/lyricist Robert Harrison, formerly of Cotton Mather, continues with the Beatles-esque trend from the first album here. However, he transforms once hopeful, puffy, white lyrical clouds into a quick, darkening gray with dejected lyrics which reference death and burial in almost every song.
Harrison starts the album off well, skipping right along with the same feel that worked for the band’s debut. Peoria’s first track, “The EPCOT View,” entices listeners with a sweet melody and thought-provoking lyrics. The album pulls off this façade for another couple tracks with the moderately glum “Old Edmund Ruffin,” which has a light sway of a tune, and even kicks it up another notch with “Feet On Grass” whose piano chords actually promote hip movement. If Peoria were displayed as a line-graph, this song would be the peak before the plunge, proving that if Future Clouds and Radar were going for a concise arrangement of songs on this album, the band should have ended the whole thing here.
As soon as you hit “Mummified,” you wish you were in that “cool sarcophagus” right along with the band. This fourth track is seven and a half minutes too long (it’s 7:32), and with the choice to repeat the same 7 words and same chord progression, I suspect that its intention was in fact, to mummify.
The finale, “Follow the Crane,” wraps up the bizarre affair. While the band started dabbling in odd sound effects in its first album, the musicians take this off-kilter tangent even further on this track. The song actually had me horrified and exploring my desktop, checking to see if pop-up ads were causing the police-sirens, barking dogs, and alien-spacecraft noises that echoed under the music. The new direction renders Future Clouds and Radar as awkward middle-schoolers tripping over limbs that are growing much too fast for the rest of their body. While I honor the fact that they are exploring new realms of music and trying to expand their sound, Peoria suggests they should be watching their feet and taking baby steps.
Listen to “The EPCOT View” from Future Clouds and Radar: