Band of Clouds - Outside broadcast (Granny It's OK to Experiment)

Meet Waterford-based but Cork-born John Haggis, and an album made with friends (including one Katie Kim and Richard from House of Cosy Cushions) at his Granny It’s OK to Experiment studio in the south-east of Ireland during a period of recovery following an operation.

No maps no compass is a great wall of sound to start, with beautiful shoegazey vocals offset by a heavily filtered trumpet, and drumbeats tripping over themselves. So long Bitter Root Hill features a circling Spanish guitar figure, followed by a fantastic deep-sea rumble of a bass underneath a lost, echoing voice. The great silence of snow transforms a simple plucked banjo and spoken word recitation into a looping vocal refrain with cinematic backwash of uplifting and epic proportions. Another haunting male falsetto adorns the brooding closer Happy endings (tending to put one in mind of Luke Temple from Here We Go Magic a little).

Stitched throughout the album are bits of film dialogue, harmonicas, violins, birdsong, recorders, cellos, dulcimer and more. Juliette Binoche, Alan Lomax and WB Yeats all make appearances. The whole thing meanders hazily and very, very pleasantly with the ramshackle charm of a home recording, without sacrificing any of the affecting melodies or rich arrangements. With its endearing sense of adventure, this downtime project beats the shit out of most people’s uptime efforts.


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