Earlier this year Ben Sharp, better know under the pseudonym of one man band Cloudkicker released the ephemeral but simply magnificent EP ]]][[[, you figure out a pronunciation. With only three tracks it was enough to incite great, and we mean great, anticipation for Beacons, the second full length album after 2008’s dazzling record The Discovery.
Beacons is a stunning tour de force of gripping technicality and lush, captivating “hair stand up” crescendos. Sharp has achieved a recognisable guitar tone, in fact an overall distinguishable sound and vibe for Cloudkicker that commences immediately in the one-two openers of ‘We Are Going To Invert…’ and the cataclysmic ‘Here, Wait A Minute! Damn It!’. The latter of which is rife with an overwhelming meeting of verdant riffs.
The resilience and endurance of the guitars harkens to Meshuggah, but noticeably more melodic. The dense melodiousness of ‘We’re Goin’ In. We’re Going Down…’ sets an immense mood for Beacons, a mood which is maintained and eventually accentuated greatly. Furthermore, it seems to be a concept album by way of the somewhat quirky and idiosyncratic narrative track titles.
One of the most beautiful elements in the Cloudkicker arsenal has been the trade-offs of soothing mellow and often hypnotising verses with otherworldly heavy riffs, all done so with apparent ease. ‘…It’s Just Wide Open Field’ is an elegant interlude into the breathtaking closing two tracks – ‘It’s Bad. We’re Hit, Man. We Are Hit’ and ‘Amy, I Love You’, the latter of which hits you with danceable opening bars.
Beacons requires one whole listen to truly appreciate its towering dynamics and jagged edged fervour and frankly, there’s no reason to do otherwise.