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Artist: The Black Clouds

Genre: Alternative Rock, Hard Rock, Grunge

Lyrics: Lonnnie Rutledge

black clouds
Comprising of guitarists/vocalists Dan Matthews and Rob Blake, bassist Gary Moses and drummer Cory King, The Black Clouds have returned leaner and louder with their new 2012 release, “Better Days.” Produced, recorded, and funded entirely by the band, “Better Days” was recorded over the period of one month and mixed by alternative rock legend, John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Hold Steady).

Track Name Rating
No Reason ★★★½☆
Breathing ★★★★☆
Defective Mind ★★★½☆
Again ★★★½☆
Fray ★★★★☆
Whereabouts Unknown ★★★½☆
I’ll be Gone ★★★☆☆
Stalemate ★★★★½
Blue Blocker ★★½☆☆
Seen Better Days ★★★½☆
Rid of Me ★★½☆☆
All or Nothing ★★★★☆

1. No reason

The track sounds off with some heavy drums, and the track proceeds like any quintessential grunge song. The lyrics are pretty heavy, and the music is in perfectly sync with the genre. The songs talks about why do we feel so down for no reason. Well, when you’re down, there’s no better way to it than this track has.

2. Breathing

Some heavy, vibrant strings give life to this song and the slow crooning in the background gives its essence. The song consistent in its delivery and keeps the listener engaged, although the uncanny voice crying, ‘don’t leave the station,’ kind of spoils the mood of the track. Anyway, a very decent attempt.

3. Defective Mind

The bass and the heavy drums keep the song and dreamy voice adds to the groovy-ness off the song. The heavy beats of the song are lively and constantly keep changing the rhythm in order to make it every bit eclectic. Although, there is something off about the ending which comes as very unappealing.

4. Again

The song comes as very drab in the beginning but proceeds to deliver something very unique and beautiful. The lyrics though immature, don’t make much of

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a difference as the acoustics and the singing out shadows every other element.

5. Fray

This one is one of the best from this album with some really mature lyrics, amazing lyrics, a blend a varied genres mixed into one, and the deliverance is accentuated, thanks to the amazing voice that the artist’s got, although a little less of the howling/crooning of the lyrics mid way of the song would have done wonders to the track.

6. Whereabouts Unknown

This track is more or less similar to the previous track as it starts off. An interesting change in the genres it proceeds, grunge and hard rock alternatively, woven well into the song in a way that is quite enjoyable.

7. I’ll be Gone

This one sounds like something familiar, a kind of track that every rock album would have, no doubt. Nothing different or unique about this one. Well agreed that rock albums do need such songs but sometimes you can just do without it as well. And this is one such album.

8. Stalemate

Again, the familiar notes surface in this track as well, but the track somehow manages to stay unique as it proceeds and keeps the listener engaged and happy. The track is definitely a piece of work. Arguably, the best track in the album. Real groovy.

9. Blue Blocker

The beats, the lyrics and the music with this one is just fine, but the singing has gone absolutely haywire. It somehow does not come across as appealing at all. The singing could have had a soft touch to it, less constricted in it deliverance would have done the magic.

10. Seen Better Days

A very eerie way to start off a song, the singing is definitely worth mentioning, the voice and the deliverance is exceptionally good. The music somehow stays eerie throughout the song, with an edge of ominous inflection here and there. The song carries a dismal sheen as it goes on. Could have been better.

11. Rid of Me

Nice and catchy start to track, this one, and the beats are peppy and take you down with the song, but the voice somehow sounds constipated in the beginning, excuse the expression. The alternate one, though, sounds quite good, and keeps the song alive in the backdrop of the other singer trying to dominate the scene. The ending could have been way better.

12. All or Nothing

A very good way to end the album, a refreshingly unique song, that has so much more than the amazingly penned down lyrics. Everything about the track is different from the rest of the album and creates a very good impression about the album, a very good leaving note. A great attempt.

If you still believe the code of the D.I.Y. musician is to destroy and rebuild every single pillar of rock ‘n’ roll; if you believe that it’s not just a privilege, but a duty to be loud, impassioned, dangerous and not just follow the scene’s flashing lights, you owe it to yourself to immediately check out New Jersey’s Black Clouds.

Picks from the album: Breathing, Fray, Stalemate, All or Nothing.

Album Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆