"The Epcot View" - Future Clouds and Radar
Last year, Robert Harrison, ex- of the Beatlesque Texas band Cotton Mather, unleashed Future Clouds and Radar on an unsuspecting world--a sprawling, double-CD debut widely praised by critics for its overflowing, multifaceted psychedelic pop. Personally, I'm not sure I heard anything on that album as cogent and immediately appealing as "The Epcot View," which sounds like the work of someone not trying quite so hard to be overflowing and multifacted anymore.
With its thoughtful mien and sweet, inviting melody, "The Epcot View" sounds a bit like "Eve of Destruction" as written by Michael Penn, with Robert Pollard making revisions. The song is not without its oddball flourishes--I like the abrupt jazz-rock break at 2:24, and the sci-fi guitar effects that follow--and the lyrics remain as inscrutable as any self-respecting Guided By Voices song, but there's something so solid and reliable at work here that I am thoroughly charmed. Plus, the idea of an "Epcot view" has an immediate connotation that gives me a narrative handhold, even if I'm still puzzling through the rest of the thickly-written lyrics.
This time around, Future Clouds and Radar is being billed as a four-person band; last year, the group was presented as a loose ensemble masterminded by Harrison. The band's second release, Peoria, is out this week on its own Star Apple Kingdom label.