After a series of successful singles for Last Night From Glasgow we finally have the debut self-titled long player from Cloth. Fronted by sibling guitarists Paul and Rachael Swinton along with drummer Clare Gallacher, they have produced a dreamy essay in the use of space and texture in music.
Never afraid to let decaying swells and reverb drenched vocals fill every corner of a song. Something of a hark back to the sound of The Blue Nile in parts and something all of their own in others. This is an album that demands repeated listens to get to the heart of it. Let’s dive in.
We open with the sound experiment ‘Other’. Eerie and reminiscent of some lost Sigur Ros recording it eases us into the first song proper ‘Felt’. The first time you hear Rachael’s voice it sounds strangely familiar and has immediate star quality. This is where Cloth lay down their signature sound. Every instrument being given its own space. Overstating the understating of each section of the song. This is haunting and addictive listening.
The single ‘Demo Love’ is ushered in on staccato guitars and pounding drums. This song has the sound of late eighties Glasgow juxtaposed with nineties US alt rock. This works especially in the burst into the choruses. This is my album highlight and you can check it out below.
‘Sleep’ arrives all cold and sparse, like clouds of exhaled breath. You hear a section which ebbs away only for another to arrive to fill its place with something equally as beautiful and swoonsome. Reminiscent of early Keaton Henson the guitar washes in and out between Rachael’s breathy vocals. I love the change in the rhythm sounds used in the choruses especially.
In a flurry of electronica confetti, we head into ‘Curiosity Door’. The signature spatial awareness is on point here with Paul demonstrating an uncanny knack of crafting the perfect chorus for his sisters’ voice. The harsh cold beats set off the warmth in the vocals perfectly.
‘Old Bear’ swaggers in next with all the confidence of a song that knows its about to blow you away. Cloth don’t do big songs by their very nature but this comes close. Clare is on fire throughout this track peppering the passages with perfectly punctuated pounding. There is great use of dark and light too. The choruses lifting us from the murky verses into the glimmering shimmer of Rachael’s high notes.
‘Taxi’ rolls in next. Back in that dreamy place where Cloth inhabit so well. Driven along by a pulsing bass and other worldly guitar line. The vocals take a back seat on this song to allow a really stunning interplay between their instruments. The closing passage is particularly impressive in this respect.
Another single follows, ‘Tripp’. This track is awash with glorious guitar runs against a gentle vocal and rhythm track. I love how everything falls on the beat in the chorus and skips alongside it in the verses. This off kilter feel continues in ‘Moons’. Built around two notes on the bass and an insistent beat, the guitars weave in and out creating some really beautiful moments.
The album closes with ‘Brooklyn’. A wall of reverberating vocals welcomes us before the perfectly spaced drums and bass appear. This feels like something different to what we are used to. Something that’s about to happen. Something that’s on the verge of appearing then is lost again. This has been placed well at the end of the record. It signals to me how they are continuing to evolve their sound within the parameters they have set themselves.
Less is more. I can almost lay money on it that Cloth will be reading that in every review of this album. It appears to have been the mantra in the studio. It has paid off. This is an album that demands repeated listens. That insists you pay attention to every detail because every detail is on show. When every detail is so meticulously written and performed you can’t help but lose yourself in it.
Cloths self-titled debut is released on November 15th on Last Night From Glasgow.