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Koalra - The Clouds Still Hang On You (Gigantic Noise Records)

24 November 2023

There are certainly hints of the 90s sounds woven into this latest release by recent Portland residents Koalra, but it is almost a 90s that never really happened, a 90s that might have been had the sonic winds only blown in a slightly different direction. Or perhaps just a natural extension of the music made then carried forward into the now. A reminder too that the decades wasn’t all grunt and Brit-pop!

Sitting somewhere between the more abrasive sounds of the likes of Sonic Youth or Dinosaur Jr. and the more eclectic dream pop haze meets shoegaze wall of sound of My Bloody Valentine, “The Clouds Still Hang On You” is hypnotic and light yet relentless and driving.

It shimmers and chimes its way into the public consciousness, a heady melding and merging of simple yet engaging building blocks – a solid and unfussy, slightly motorik drum groove, a Cure-like underpinning bass lines, circular guitar riffs and vocals that seem to sink back into the music, less a means of direct communication, more an ethereal instrument in its own right. Simple building blocks perhaps but when put together, the sonic architecture that is raised is quite spectacular.

If the job of a single is to tease the audience and test the water for the album to come, then “The Clouds Still Hang On You” does its job brilliantly. After all, I have had this on repeat for a while now, and all I can think is that Disasterclass, the album out on 22nd December, can’t come quickly enough! (If anyone is still trying to decide what to get me for Christmas…well, now you know.)

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