CD Revue 

Cloud Cult, Cloud Room, Anna Nalick, Kate Earl, Jana

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CLOUD CULT Advice From the Happy Hippopotamus ****

Um … yeah. Cloud Cult might be the zaniest band you’ve never heard, but they sure as hell are one of the best. A music box and handclaps end the trip-hop breakbeat of “Living on the Outside of Your Skin” (it begins with jingle bells). Deerhoof could be a tentative distant cousin; so could Mogwai, so could Tortoise; so could Moab band The Dwellers. Electronic EBM blends with Dirty Projectors indie-rock in “Happy Hippo.” Bands that truly push boundaries without being obnoxious are so rare. Hats off to Cloud Cult! (


THE CLOUD ROOM The Cloud Room ****


The Cloud Room is so 2005-perfect it’s kind of disgusting, but don’t write them off as incapable of sincerity. Neo-disco permeates “Waterfall,” moody post-new wave dance on “Blackout!” A healthy dose of jangly Brit-pop and great hooks are added to the brew; The Verve makes love to Oasis makes love to Jesus & Mary Chain in one big heavenly sex sandwich. A Strokes or Beatles comparison wouldn’t be remiss, either. (


ANNA NALICK Wreck of the Day ***


This reviewer can’t say that she is fond of the kind of music Anna Nalick makes (sorry, first-person references in CD reviews are expressly forbidden), but she can admit that it’s good. Lightweight folk-based mainstream rock is a little bit like Lisa Loeb in “Paper Bag,” but minus the sass. The best parts of Wreck of the Day are Anna’s vocals and lyrics, which are both mature, soulful and disarmingly honest. (


KATE EARL Fate is the Hunter **


Kate will remind you of Nora Jones and the other million gentle, universally pleasing piano artistes with banally romantic lyrics that this column has covered in the past year or so'there have been too many'with not much to differentiate. However, that “not much” gets promising at times, like in her folk-pop number “When You’re Older.” Don’t misunderstand; Kate’s classy. But being classy doesn’t disqualify you from being average. (


JANA Flash of a Firefly *


You really, really want to like Jana. She has a positive attitude that’s touching, and she’s one of those rare people who believe in eternal love. But. Her. Music. Sucks. Vigorously. Overproduced soft adult-pop with some light R&B thrown in might be ideal performed at the Excelsior or the Crystal Cathedral, but outside those environments, this album is a dangerous pollutant that must be stopped from infecting the world at all costs. (

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Rebecca Vernon

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