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This album takes great inspiration from Pink Floyd, but really stands with its own persona.

Music Review: Obscured by Clouds – Psycheclectic

Merely mentioning the name Pink Floyd conjures an entire musical landscape of synthesizers, psychedelic rock, experimentation, and philosophical lyrics. To this day, forty-four years after the band was founded, many peoples' favorite music is simply defined as "Pink Floyd", and there you have it. Multitudinous bands have taken their inspiration from Pink Floyd, and at least one has even taken its name from an album, Obscured By Clouds, whose album Psycheclectic I recently heard.

Using "psycheclectic" as a portmanteau of "psychedelic" and "eclectic" very much describes the album itself. Like the old fable of the blind men describing an elephant by only its trunk, legs, or tail, taken at different points, the album would at different times in different songs be described as everything from classic rock to feedback experimentation to folk to perhaps even Celtic in its epic descriptions of landscape and emotional impact.

Each track of the concept album stands on its own, setting aside convention for more of a "playlist" style of songs. With that said, they are also all tied together by the opening song, "Soft Cheeked and Worried." It flows from stark acoustic guitar emulating the barren desert with splashes of piano and moves to electric guitar playing just on the edge of feedback. Experimentation with feedback is tricky: good feedback is good, but back feedback is very, very bad. I once walked out of a concert because of the feedback noise of someone with a guitar trying to be cool and failing miserably. Obscured by Clouds holds back on the noise and instead masterfully rides the warbling wails of feedback.

The rest of the album follows suit in its own style. "Zoë Zoloft" works as an homage to Syd Barrett in a "song about a girl, a sitar, and modern pharmakinetics", creating the "sonic imagery of the splintered spokes of a broken and wobbling wheel." Feedback strikes again in the friendly-sounding song "Cast Close the Gate." More mellow, almost to the point of an ode, "Love's Love" calls up images of love personified "with a Floydishly acoustic accompaniment." From there, the songs "Faiths' Soul", "Consider this a Message", "Hot Little Box", and "The Drip Feed" take their own turns, some more like typical rock and others far more experimental.

In all, I'd be slow to say that it's just a reincarnation of Pink Floyd. Instead, the album takes great inspiration from Pink Floyd, but really stands with its own persona. Like kids in a tree house emulating their heroes, Obscured By Clouds takes what they heard and learned from Pink Floyd and adapted it to their own play. And the thing is, these kids rock.

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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