The chance to write about new Super Squarecloud music is always something I look forward to. Along with Crash and The ‘Coots and Adam Crosland’s myriad art-noise manifestations, they are a band that make you feel good about the local music gene pool. If evolution relies on unexpected and random mutations then the same can be said about music and the fact that the afore-mentioned bands have discarded fashion, rules, perceived wisdom and even occasionally logic, means that musical boundaries shouldn’t get too comfortable about their present locations. Rather than opt for the same progression of nostalgia, revival and formula, Super Squarecloud are true innovators and Stanford Torus is a great calling card.
Whilst they have always been wonderfully challenging, recent gigs by Super Squarecloud have shown that they have managed to harness the inherent weirdness and package it up in borderline pop-friendly packages. The best example of this comes as the opening salvo of this three-track offering, Lolly Moon. Okay, humans still don’t have enough limbs to properly dance to the tune but it comes closer to conventional grooves than a lot of their work has. But then again in the live environment most people are too fixated on the band themselves to be bothered about wig flipping and rug cutting. Time changes abound, instruments come and go, world records for simultaneous playing of instruments are attempted, all within the luscious ebbs and flows of the song.
And if Lolly Moon finds them coming closest to conforming to the general perception of accessible pop, what follows finds them at their most divergant. Hana B lilts forward in a more conventional but less immediate way, soothing rather than punchy, slowly gaining layers of electronica rather than going for unexpected dynamic effect.
Abacus is where the band really turns a corner. One off techno-indulgence or the shape of things to come? Exciting prospect! This instrumental workout seems to push the musical arsenal to its extreme, weaving layers of affected and manipulated sounds with organic percussion.
I think what makes Super Squarecloud walk different paths to most bands is their base influences, after all you can only know where you are going if you know where you have come from. Whereas most bands have common backgrounds, blues, soul, America, beat, sex, love, cliché, this seems to come from a more interesting place – art, noise, technology, ideas. Maybe it’s the sound of one possible alternative fantasy future that pop might have had if it had not been born of blues, wooden materials, anger, lust and poverty. What if it had been born of metal, technology, the avant-garde, abstract art, and modern comfort? The music of What If and Why Not?
This e.p. marks the first of a series of releases that act as a teaser for a full-blown debut album that is nearing completion. So where do they go from here? Anywhere they damn well choose to!