24 Feb 2020
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Furniss Brothers - Album Review: Cloudwatcher’s Soul

16 Feb 2019 // A review by Darryl Baser

The debut album from brothers Matthew & Ben Furniss, is a concept album with a single loosely themed narrative of the kidnapping of the muse 'Cloudwatcher' and the eventual reuniting with the central character.

The melody and lyrics manage to tie the theme together quite well. It’s an odd album; slick and commercially produced, it was mastered at Stebbing Studio by Steve McGough, after being recorded at Lonely Hawk Sound in the Auckland suburb of Kumeu.

Matthew Furniss takes care of the drums and percussion, while Ben Furniss plays guitars, piano, mellotron, and sings.

Lonely Hawk is the title of the opening number on the LP and sets the mood very well, with a gentle pulsing drum, sounding like a traditional Native American drum, (hand, or frame drum, also known as a Shaman Drum) the bass follows suite, and there’s a haunting melodic guitar line which weaves its way around the central vocal melody.

The album’s cover art features a classic image of a Native American person, which looks like it could have been taken in the early 1900’s, and totally fits the album’s concept.

Song four, Under This Tree, is slightly more up-tempo, but still at a relaxed amble, reminded me of NZ band Pluto, meets Neil Young in early Crazyhorse days. “..and under this tree, is where it all begins..”.

Unless You're Home With Me is slower again, and Ben Furniss showing his very good skills with a piano. The arrangement is sparse and lets the song breathe, and there’s some nice strings waving around. The multiple tracking and vocal harmonies are beautiful.

This is a good LP, odd, but good. I’m really scared that it’ll fall through the cracks between commercially acceptable, and therefore receiving much mainstream airplay, and being too commercial and not quirky enough for student radio.

Cloudwatcher’s Soul, is a really nice album, and it's a bloody brave move to announce a debut LP as a ‘concept’ album.

Rating: ( 3 / 5 )
 

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