Cloudship is a simple two-piece rock outfit that uses their signature mix of experimental rock, blues, psychedelia and soul to stand out amongst the crowd. On their release titled Sail to Heaven Brandon Freeman’s vocals are on point and show range, restraint and all around great tone all the way until the end. True rock is becoming a dying breed but Freeman could find himself there if the stars aligned. Until then Cloudship’s melting pot will be his home and it’s no real sacrifice anyway. His voice takes flight with even just the simplest of accompaniment.
This mini super group makes magic with a set of songs that are bold and unapologetic, capable of simplicity and soul. The title track “Sail To Heaven” is strong and catchy showcasing Freeman’s power and poignant songwriting. The acoustic guitar is his only friend and it’s all he needs. The intro is just a sweeping melody, weightless and calm with a sense of wonder. His vocal performance is soulful and full of emotion. When the drums enter is creates kinetic energy and when they are removed a serene calm reinstated.
I was left a little confused after hearing the group’s cover of Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.” The production is weak considering so much of the room can be heard in the recording. Also, there’s the intermittent laughter of an infant amidst the verse breaks. Puzzling.
“The Hangover” moves with an implied groove a la Incubus and the vocals are beautifully done, showing range and intensity at just the right times.
Finishing off the album is the epic “Out of the Darkness.” It’s the first and only taste of electric guitar, but it delivers enough to make up for the earlier lacking. Nothing flashy or over the top, just a vibrato tone bending in and out and helping the song come to life like a late ‘80s ballad. The song continues adding more layers of emotion and you forget that this is just a duo. Their powerhouse delivery isn’t bombastic, but for the most part it’s full sounding and polished. Now think what a little drums could do….
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