Friday, March 4, 2011

The Lightning Seeds - Cloudcuckooland (1990)

What boggles and impresses me most about such a rich and full sounding album such as Cloudcuckooland is that it was essentially a solo project. All the songs outside of like two or three (which he collaborated on), were written by one man: Ian Broudie. And even more impressive was that it was his debut outing. It sounds like the 3rd or 4th album by a seasoned quartet who’s just beginning to get into the swing of things. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a studio album and I’m sure he had a lot of aid from producers and whatnot and in the early 90s one could fabricate such a textured sound, but it’s still a feat. Nowadays, you have bands like Neon Indian who are doing the same thing and arriving at that studio slick sound with one man behind the wheel, but with modern technology which makes it much easier to do. 20 years ago, the playing field was different. To add to the already baffling equation, almost every song on the album could have been a single. Songs like “All I Want,” “Pure,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Joy” (just to name a few) are all near-perfect joyous pop songs. Themes of love and hope and happiness also permeate the album, which makes for an all the more enjoyable listen. Eventually he recruited some help on later albums and continued putting them out until the end of the decade, but in my opinion, Cloudcuckooland still stands as Broudie’s best and most polished work - and beyond that - one of the best albums of the 90’s, period.

Rating: 9.5/10


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