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Future Clouds And Radar

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Since Cotton Mather released their third (and apparently final) album, The Big Picture, in 2001, not much has been heard from the group’s leader and principal songwriter, Robert Harrison, but he’s certainly making up for lost time with the first release from his new project, Future Clouds & Radar. A hefty two-disc set, Future Clouds & Radar features 27 tunes which demonstrate Harrison’s gift for crafting gorgeous psychedelic-tinged pop songs has only grown stronger during his lay-off from recording , and his band of compatriots who helped him commit this to tape navigate his stylistic twists and turns with the élan of a Formula One racing team. While Harrison’s voice splits the difference between John Lennon and Glenn Tilbrook, melodically Future Clouds & Radar hops from one approach to another throughout its playing time, from the acid-drenched electronic meandering of “This Is Really a Book” and the stripped-bare blues figures of “Devil No More” to the high-spirited rock & roll of “Holy Janet Comes on Waves” and the bittersweet simplicity of “Christmas Day 1923,” with plenty of solid hook-infused power pop and up-tempo rock along the way, all presented with just the right degree of polish and played with skill and spark throughout. It’s telling that the more relaxed numbers such as “Build Havana” and “Green Mountain Clover” are as effective as the high-energy tunes, and Harrison can play goofy and sincere with equal impact.

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