Dave Cloud – Fever – CD
Like some latter-day Captain Beefheart kidnapping his band to force them to knock out Trout Mask Replica, Cloud dragged the ever-changing Gospel Of Power band, Matt Swanson (also of Lambchop) Ben Martin (Clem Snide) and Matt Back across the Atlantic to record ‘Fever’ at Fire Records’ Stoke Newington studio. But where the notorious Captain turned his musicians into fanatical cadavres, the ever amenable Cloud has created another record of fractured garage and garrulous lo-fi, bizarre character studies and paeans to ladies and love. Just as on his Fire Records debut, the compilation Napoleon of Temperance and last album, Pleasure Before Business, Cloud once again roughs up the Nashville tradition. You’re as likely to hear him collaborating with a Norwegian folk group to knock out a dishevelled version of sea shanty ‘What Should We Do With A Drunken Sailor’ as paying reverential homage to the sound of his home city. But that’s what this personable old cove is all about: hazy round the edges, always on hand with a sly wink. So the title track takes the melody of the song that Peggy Lee made famous for a late night drink in a seedy bar where it never really wanted to go, while ‘The Citadel’ even out-swaggers’n’sleazes the The Rolling Stones’ original. Over the murky atmosphere and hungover Spanish guitar of ‘Surfer Joe’, Cloud ponders the price of lobster, cats and ponies, and pronounces Mexico like a drunken sheep. South of the border yeaaaoooww, south of the border yeaaaoow he growls. ‘In The Distance’ has Cloud in full spoken word flow over echoes of rolling piano, a tale of a man who put his battered bugle to his lips… and played the only love song she had ever heard him sing” in honour of a girl with magnetic brown eyes… made as a perfect sculpture. It’s a surprising end to Cloud’s peculiar journey, but you’d be a fool not to join him on it.