Three out of five band members listing synths second on their individual duty rosters, the fourth being the keyboardist, and the fifth leading with engineering/production means either the Clouds Are Ghosts are musical rocket scientists or Garbage. The moment this local quartet's eponymous debut opens to beats and synthesized melodrama heaving and sighing behind a piano-kissed vocal straight out of the nasal theatre of Placebo's Brian Molko, you know you're not in Kansas anymore, Toto. "Atomic Daydream" beats out jackrabbit skank under layers of synthesized radiation, and violin-swollen New Age gothic "We Are Not Alone" trades on Jason Morris' classic UK 1980s vocal dramatization ("Fields"). By the time both lead into the cutting rhythms of "Echo," you realize The Clouds Are Ghosts doesn't have a single hair out of place, perfectly segued and polished to a binary New Order. "Insomnia" and synthetic "Vampires" blur the second half – piano sonata "Underwater Level" – but paramount is "Orbiting," a busy signal of modern existential acquiescence.
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