That was no dream. Those who remember the Clouds as one of the most exhilarating live acts of the heady 1990s have had their faith confirmed over half a dozen steadily escalating tours since 2011.
With their immaculate explosion of interweaving guitars, delirious vocal harmonies and breathtaking songcraft, one of the world’s great lost rock bands is back to claim their interrupted legacy.
Singer-songwriters Jodi Phillis and Trish Young forged their dreamy harmonic chemistry in Sydney in 1989. Guitarist Dave Easton joined for their landmark Penny Century album of ’91, with its instantly arresting alternative radio hits Hieronymus and Anthem.
Drummer Raph Whittingham cemented the Clouds’ trademark blend of melodic delicacy and immense dynamic propulsion on their Thunderhead album of ’93, the classic single Bower of Bliss breaking barriers of sound and subject matter.
A total of six EPs and a swansong album, Futura, drew the Clouds’ recorded legacy to a close at around the same time as the decade they had conquered as bona fide indie road warriors both at home and overseas.
The Clouds’ reunion of 2011 was at the invitation of fellow ‘90s mavericks the Wonderstuff and Jesus Jones at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre.
Apart from ecstatic old fans, their subsequent tours have attracted a new generation transfixed by the focused power and technical precision of a bygone age where a band lived or died on the strength of live performance.
The Clouds’ 2022 tour celebrated 30 years of Penny Century by performing that album in its entirety (backwards, naturally) to around 5,000 fans and newcomers over a select handful of shows on Australia’s east coast, with cutting edge production enhancing their reputation for peerless sonic fidelity.
As for the question on every fan’s lips…
“New material is something that we talk about,” Jodi says. “Trish has some great songs lying around. We have some songs that we co-wrote too (see The Girls from The Clouds’ EP of 2005, Lalalala).
“I have been inspired recently to start writing ‘Clouds’ songs again so I guess at some point we will release something. Can’t say what or when.”