CLOUD CASTLE LAKE
Thurs 30th August
Tickets €10 (+booking)
Dublin-based four piece Cloud Castle Lake make beguiling, complicated and bold compositions. They share a common ambition to push the lens of live performance wider, to go outside the constrictions set by genres, and to explore beyond traditional sonic structures. When lead vocalist, synth player and lyricist Daniel McAuley (27) met bassist Rory O’Connor (27) and guitarist/pianist Brendan William Jenkinson (27) in boarding school in County Kildare, he didn’t even realise he could sing. For a guy who has a falsetto that seems higher than Thom Yorke and Wild Beast’s Hayden Thorpe combined, that information comes as quite a shock. “I was the band’s fake manager,” he laughs. They started a band as “a minor act of rebellion”. It was purely about having fun. Via local battle of the band contests, however, it soon dawned on them that what they’d conjured together out of a mutual affection for Radiohead and Sigur Ros, Aphex Twin and Bjork, was really working.
They named themselves Cloud Castle Lake after a Vladimir Nabokov short story – a tale about a voyager who finds a place so beautiful he wants to spend the rest of his life there, but is cruelly dragged back to reality. Similarly, Cloud Castle Lake’s music juxtaposes lyrical darkness and despair with an almost euphoric catharsis. Newest recruit – drummer Brendan Doherty (22) – joined the band only two years ago, and has been instrumental in evolving their sound from the post-rock leanings of their 2014 debut LP ‘Dandelion’ to something far more jazz-inflected, electronic and liberated on their forthcoming follow-up album ‘Malingerer’, which itself draws on different influences, and American jazz composers such as Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders.
The group tends to agonise and meander over every detail when it comes to writing. With ‘Malingerer’, they marooned themselves in Donegal to record. They hunkered down for just five days in Attica Studios [Villlagers, Sam Smith] with acclaimed producer Rob Kirwan [PJ Harvey, Hozier]. They learned to trust in Kirwan who helped them make decisions faster. He also encouraged more of a sense of improvisation. Some of their favourite moments on the record are tracks like the cacophonous, off-the-cuff ‘Fern’, which was a direct result of that sense of throwing caution to the wind, and it brought out the love the guys have for playing their instruments together. ‘Bonfire’ is a particularly proud moment. A track seemingly riffing on themes of miscommunication, it features a choir. There’s a newfound sense of confidence among them. “It made us feel like a real band in a way,” says O’Connor. “It’s now or never. It’s very real now.”
Named ‘Malingerer’ after the track of the same name – the centerpiece for the record – the album is a moment of respite from the shadows of life’s hardships. “The songs are a way for me to excise things that have been weighing on me,” says McAuley. “That’s why they seem dark.” With ambitions to tour America, the UK and Europe, they’re eager to build on providing the type of transportive atmosphere for others that they themselves relish together.