Before Brandon Freeman and Jonathan Napoles were making music they were friends who had different musical proclivities. Freeman was a R&B and rocker singer while Napoles was knee deep into metal. If you happened to catch our review of their first release last year you will know that despite their contrasting musical endeavors their project Cloudship displays their ability to come together and create their own brand of music that experiments with a number of different genres.
Their follow up entitled Mayday is very much an extension of their first release and continues to give little credence for sticking with one genre. Mayday brings in more instrumentation than its predecessor and showcases a more robust, full sound. Despite inconsistent styles that don’t always coalesce Mayday is in every way a more realized version of the band.
The band kicks off the EP with the title track “Mayday.” You are immediately treated with warm acoustic guitar picking and the soothing R&B style voice of Freeman. When the chorus hits Freeman stretches his vocal chords and shows off some of his range. It’s a solid song if a bit too commercial pop sounding for my liking at points.
“Home” is a certified highlight. The band really shines here and Freeman really lays down some smooth vocals. I have to say the saxophone really adds a lot to the song. It works very well within the mix and sounds rich, warm and a perfect compliment to his vocals.
On “We Are Same (feat. Otis Reed)” they incorporate straight up rapping in this song and it just felt like too much of a stretch from the other styles. When looking at the song as a singular entity it works but in the context of the EP it feels misplaced.
The highlight of the EP was the unexpected bluegrass inspired “Wonderland Express.” They meld in excellent fiddle work and I thought the genre sounded very natural on the band; A bit odd when looking at their backgrounds but what works, works.
I think Mayday is a step up in terms of songwriting but the band is merely flirting with different styles at this point rather then seamlessly combining those styles into one or many songs. An artist like Beck has found a way to do this successfully and created a sound, which is uniquely his own. If Cloudship wants to continue genre hopping on their next release their best strategy is to try and push their creative and artistic ability and meld their experimental tendencies into a signature sound.
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