By Andy Schiaffino
With a thirty-second intro initially reminding one of Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks theme, Hello kicks off Norwegian band Amber Clouds’ self-titled EP; which fuses a medley of different genres together into five brilliantly executed songs.
Besides its introductory Hello, each song on this EP is polished off with indie rock-esque vocals singing a familiar story of messy romance. The overall sound of Amber Clouds is a blend of dream-pop and casual surf rock infused with definite shoegaze influences. These songs are defined mainly by guitar enhanced with delay pedals, spring reverb and tremolo. Synth is also included to add texture to select songs; constructing a more layered song and establishing the tone, without completely stealing the focus.
I Don’t Want This To End and Need To Know compose the upbeat, surfy half of the EP. These songs’ bass lines and guitar melodies guarantee that the listener won't be able stop themselves from getting up to dance. Each song has their respective relaxed parts, but the main feeling of the songs is one of carefree happiness, in spite of the lovelorn lyrics of I Don’t Want This To End.
Date Night (For Young People) begins the shoegaze half of Amber Clouds, driven by a mellow bass line that inspires listeners to sway along with the euphonious grooves. Layered vocal tracks on this song as well as synth give it a dreamier sound than the previous three songs. Midway through the song, it takes a turn into a early 90s shoegaze sound, reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, then returns to laid-back synth. The shoegaze sound returns in the final track, Wish I Knew — equal parts noisy, distorted and mellifluous. These last two tracks on the EP are much more experimental, and drastically less precise and tight as, for example, the pop-ish melodies of Need To Know. Amber Clouds expertly combines shoegaze and surf-rock into just five songs, and leaves the listener hungry for more.