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Album Review: Harry Cloud “The Cyst”

Experimental rocker Harry Cloud shows off an expansive imagination and musical range on The Cyst, released February 7 via Kitten Robot Records. The multi-genre album is the Georgia native’s sixteenth project and weaves through a hodgepodge of absurdist concepts and storylines. Each song is a vignette of situations ranging from hilarious to horrifying.

Opening track “Send Me Pictures” is a country-rock joint sung from the perspective of a perverted, alcoholic cowboy. A song best described as a bizarro hoedown that is as catchy as it is deranged, Cloud transforms into a character who begs with comical urgency, “Send me pictures of your open mouth!” It leads into “Ferryman’s Guild,” a mesh of sludge, chiptune and tempo changes, on which Cloud delivers both guttural growls and airy vocals. The record’s first eight minutes set its tone: expect the unexpected.

Cloud is accompanied by singer Rayna Kilroy on “Post-Partum,” a macabre track exploring the mind of a mother suffering from depression following an unwanted pregnancy. Listeners are invited to sit in the discomfort of hearing dark, post-partum fantasies, projected over dissonant guitar chords that recall the works of ’90s grunge bands like Babes In Toyland.

“Post-Partum” starkly contrasts “Squid Friend,” a love song about a doomed relationship between a human and an aquatic creature. Cloud reaches his falsetto register as the song rises from a soft, hazy fog to a punchy climax before it decrescendos to its starting point— like the tug and pull of an ocean wave washing apart the story’s star-crossed lovers.

The Cyst explores a fascinating combination of sounds, toying with shoegaze and indie rock (“I’m Still Waiting”) and funk and psychedelia (“Soft Pillowcases Covered Red”). The album’s titular track strings together abstract lyrics with Cloud’s gritty voice and choral-like synths. The record’s most avant-garde endeavour, “Most Likely Nothing Ever,” sees Cloud switching up his singing style and guitar-playing in a manner comparable to Mr. Bungle. “Lick the Lamb” kicks off with ’60s-reminiscent guitar riffs that build up to a driving rhythm and an explosive minute-and-a-half of doom-metal that closes out the album.

With its jumble of alternative genres and lyrical content, the album has something to appeal to a variety of listeners. Give it a listen and settle into the different nooks of Harry Cloud’s mind.

Harry Cloud Online: Website | Bandcamp | Instagram | Facebook | Spotify | SoundCloud

About Parisa Vafaie

Parisa Vafaie is a Master of Public Policy student in Canada with a background in journalism. Her simple pleasures include chai lattes, well-curated playlists, and CDs packaged in jewel cases.

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