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Clouds On Strings - For You, for Me, for the Sake of a Name CD (album) cover


Clouds On Strings


Eclectic Prog

3.49 | 17 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
3 stars CLOUDS ON STRINGS is a modern day prog rock band that formed in 2009 at California State University at Chico by a bunch of music majors. The band includes Michael Bone (guitar, vocals), Randall Jangula (bass, vocals), Josh Hegg (keyboards), Matt Weiner (violin) and Matt Franklin (drums) and are known for an eclectic mix of prog styles that find influences in everything old and many things new and are also said to put on a rather stellar live show with particular emphasis on keyboards and violins.

With three albums to date the band cranked them out in a three year period with this debut FOR YOU, FOR ME, FOR THE SAKE OF A NAME leading the pack in 2009. This is a loosely themed concept album that deals with fame and ignorance and like many similar albums is designed to be experienced as a whole. The album has seven tracks which roughly hover around the 4 to 7 minute mark with nothing exceedingly lengthy however one of the key attribute of CLOUDS ON STRINGS is that the compositions meander a bit without repetition which creates a rather murky distinction between tracks.

Musically this really is a mixed bag. The sounds range from light airy folk to heavy Crimsonian inspired guitar heft along with a haunting violin sound that permeates the softer and heavier sections alike. While the heavy sections can be laced with distortion and pseudo-metal bombast, the music generally simmers on mid-tempo mode with jazzy chord progressions and off-kilter meanderings into strange unrelated passages threatening to derail the compositional flow but somehow the CLOUDS ON STRINGS salvages the impending train wreck with the sheer will to steer the listener's attention into another groovy melodic riff.

Trying to make comparisons isn't easy with CLOUDS ON STRINGS. Actually they sound more like an indie rock band that got a little artsy with a flair of eclecticism like a mix of Fleet Foxes and Arcade Fire with all the compositions teased out into more extensive meanderings through the prog universe. Guitarist / vocalist Michael Bone delivers decent guitar riffs but his vocals are little on the tenderly reserved end of the spectrum and seems to keep the music from spiraling out into rough and tumble extremism. The keyboards of Josh Hegg offer subtle variations that create the proper atmospheres to keep the guitar whether they are chugging rock or soft lush folk from falling into tedium.

This is one of those bands where every member constitutes the sum of the whole and no one really steps out of line to deliver any sort of virtuosity. Sometimes both the keys and guitars threaten to break into solos but they never really get beyond simmer. Overall this is a rather subdued sort of prog that is on chill out through its entire run with only a few outbursts of energy however the interesting complexities of weaving classical, hard rock, jazz and even country elements into the music keeps it from getting stagnant.

Overall, CLOUDS ON STRINGS delivered a decent but unremarkable debut with FOR YOU, FOR ME, FOR THE SAKE OF A NAME. In many ways this band reminds me of Phish because it seems sort of like a jam band yet the compositions are much more complex than anything Phish conjured up but it has that amateurish DIY college student feel to the whole thing where there is a deliberate attempt to keep things from sounding to professionally slick. Ultimately the problem with this album despite the excellent instrumental interplay is that nothing really stands out as memorable and add to that the fact that Bone's vocal style is rather bland and the album never feels like it reached its potential. A decent effort but not one that beckons me for return visits. The last album came out in 2011 so i'm not sure if this band is still active or not.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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