From London comes another pleasant sleeper that shouldn’t be overlooked, Cloud Boat’s new album Model Of You. Tom Clarke and Sam Ricketts’s project is gloomy art pop influenced by their teenage interest in post-rock, and perhaps also by modern electronic dance music. Clarke’s warm, soulful voice fascinatingly contrasts with the coldly beautiful keyboard swells, beats, and guitar riffs.
The duo were wise to name the album from a line off its most memorable song, “Hallow,” the majestic closer. In the ballad, a heartbroken man bitterly swears he will labor in seclusion to replace his lost lover with an image, a feeling. The song sums up perfectly the despairing tone of the album—and while that tone could stand to relent a little, it is clear that Clarke and Ricketts are indeed very sincere craftsmen. Listening to this album, I can see what These New Puritans’ Field of Reeds ought to have sounded like, if only they had just ditched those showoff and needlessly convoluted arrangements. The album’s repetitive sense of melancholy makes it unlikely to build up too much crossover appeal, but it isn a mature work—chilly but not without sensuality or conviction. For their live dates, Cloud Boat remain across the Atlantic, but we should take note. »
– Matthew Sweeny