There is an inherent hazard to asking an artist what a particular song happens to mean. Many will tell you the listener’s interpretation is far more interesting than their own. That being said, many artists would do well to at least provide a roadmap. In the vein of The Flaming Lips, Say Hi and Beck; Autumn’s Mutt follows in similar song structure with catchy and proficient musicality behind lyrics that at time are at times “out there” and at others seemingly stuck in disconnect. Touted as a “concept album about love” (specifically the four types of love as explained by the Greeks–Eros, Storge, Pride and Agape), the songs zig and zag through the four themes, but at times left me lost in the lyrical matter.
The opening theme “Phase I” contains “Psycho Robot Lover” and may be the album’s musicality at its highlight. Demure acoustic guitar lays a foundation to the drone vocal delivery until backing percussion joins. Clearly the song is about a love gone wrong (the title sort of gives that away) with lyrics able to be followed. Technically the most full song on the album. The second theme is under the “Movement II” header and is thematically is the Storge (familial love) section. “Wakey Wakey Morning” is another track dedicated to simplicity with more acoustic guitar ebbing and flowing as lyrically the storyline follows a week based upon what is served at the family breakfast/lunch/dinner table. While the ethos of the track is clever in its theme, the track plods along through the drone vocal delivery. The third theme is “Act III” and “DÃ©tente Indeed.” Again it follows the vocal/acoustic tandem structure that dominates the album and weighing in at 1:55, it is the shortest track on the album. Thematically, this was one of the tracks that lost me as the lyrics seem to bounce from one unrelated subject to the next. The follow-up track “Star-crossed Fruit” eschews the acoustic backdrop for some very pretty piano work but this is slightly marred by a slightly off-key vocal delivery and notes clearly out of his vocal range.
All in all the “idea” of Cloud Nine is a good one. Where it falls short lies in its lack of execution. From the cover art to the disc itself, one can tell this is a full DIY album, but the problem with that is that it sounds like a DIY album without the necessary refinement and polish to take it from a “good idea” to its full potential. It isn’t that I don’t like the album; I just don’t like it the way it is now. I would really like to see this given due diligence and then see what the final product is.
by Chris West – firstname.lastname@example.org[Rating: 2/5]