Wide Open 
Artist: Cloudcity 
Label: Slack Boy records 
Time: 11 tracks/51:27 

I don't like this record much. It is a hard record for me to pinpoint what is lacking since there are several good aspects to the record. but I'll try. Cloudcity is Andy Putman, bass; Steve Willey, guitars; Pete Arant, drums; and Joe Arant lead vocals, guitar, and the main song writer. The vocals and the music on Open Wide made me think of Grand Funk Railroad. Joe Arant has the same kind of tenor with a little sweep to it like Grand Funk leader and now Christian musician, Mark Farner. I was into Grand Funk Railroad back when I was in high school, and now Cloudcity is writing music that kinda reminds me of high school songwriting... 
 
The songs are musically sophomoric and lyrically basic, with flashes of grandeur; but flashes will not save this record. Musically, the bass leads the way here, most of the time. Andy Putman has come up with some nice bass lines to keep the listener interested, and the guitars are appropriately distorted to make this a modern rock record. Another modern rock record... 

Maybe my problem with this record is that the songs are not simple enough. They seem to get bogged down in words, but none of the words stand out to distinguish these songs because they don't give me anything to picture or consider. There is a simpleness in quality song writing that comes from a maturity that seems to be missing in Cloudcity. The lyrics follow openly Christian themes, but maybe they over reach. 

Some of the songs are successfully simple enough, though. On one song the boys get some help from label mate Marnie Ann of "Daughter Eve", and the refrain goes: 

    The Son shines me up, 
    The world drags me down. 
    I can't keep it up, 
    My head's in the clouds.
A couple of songs do rock. Track nine, "Home," a five minute, guitar-driven, blues rock prayer inviting Christ to make the singer's heart His home. And the record finishes with a rock praise song about what Christ has done for us where the boys get Marnie to help a little with the vocals again.  
  
Thinking back, once again, I remember the critics also slamming Grand Funk when they came out with sophomoric records. If Cloudcity could hang in there and start to craft deep songs of faith, the potential may be there. Wide Open, however, doesn't inspire me. There's not much here to take with you. 
  
By Tony LaFianza 

 

With a name like Cloudcity I was expecting something along the lines of ambient techno--but there's not a sign of that here. This is a modern rock album through and through, with touches of PFR in the harmonies on one track, and REM in other places, but more distortion in the guitars and an overall heavier sound than either of those bands.  There's a hint of King's X in there too, alongside the grunge bands that have obviously influenced the guitarist and bassist. 

The impassioned vocals are fairly well done, if a little strained, and the harmonies, which occasionally appear, are a nice touch. The chord progressions are more interesting than standard fare in places, and the bass playing is solid, but there is little else to make the album stand out. Probably good live, but not quite there yet on CD. 

Contact:  
Cloudcity 
17291 Irvine Blvd., Suite 257 
Tustin,  CA  92780 
(714) 544-4557 

By James Stewart