by Chris Nunley
For someone who loves history as much as music, I kick myself once a year for not making a time capsule in the year 1993. These were crazy times, from Clinton to Koresh, Bosnia to Mogadishu, Janet Reno to Rodney King, Bulls to Cowboys, Great Blizzard to Great Flood, Unabomber to World Trade Center… it was nuts!
In the midst of all the madness came one of the best years in music that has yet to be matched 22 years later (Google is your friend). If I were to go all Rob Gordon and pick my top 5 records from that year, Slowdive’s sophomore album “Souvlaki” would make the cut. The balance of rich atmospheric textures, the complementing male and female vocals, heavily affected guitars… it’s a must own for any shoegaze fan.
Fast forward the linear tape to 2015 and we find In Time I Am, the debut release from Phoenix-based trio Citrus Clouds. What sets this album apart from the before mentioned “Souvlaki” is how well this band has achieved such a big, lush sound with a minimalistic approach. But it’s not just shoegaze. There’s hints of surf, garage, and pop all beautifully intertwined to create a unique sound full of life and gives the listener a breath of fresh air laced with psychedelic gooeyness.
“Anymore” eases you into the album on a 3 foot glassy wave of nostalgia, allowing you to enjoy the ride with the line “People say I don’t think / My mind’s away in space and I tend not to blink.” White caps start to form on the opening riff to “Dreamer”, and you’re shooting the tube with catchy lines and a nice instrumental jam. For the album’s title track (and obvious single), lead vocal duties are passed from guitarist Erick Pineda to bassist Stacie Huttleston at the perfect time, giving a beautiful contrast that engages the listener further for a second set.
The endearing “Love Is” (“Where is the cleansing rain that takes you and me to kingdom come?”) and genuine “Forever Friends” (“Someone to catch you when you fall / The hope is there for you, just call”) both follow the shoegaze recipe with soaring vocals and trailing guitars, while drummer Anthony Jarero keeps everything gelled together in space and time. As we wind down, “The Colors” is an alluring ode to summer sunsets that we are so fortunate to have here in Phoenix. Some of the best lyrical content, chord progression and tones are featured on this track…a true gem.
The only track that seems to not fit with the rest of the arrangement is “Day’s Glow”. A quirky song with a happy-go-lucky vibe and shuffle, it just comes across as filler with little substance. Maybe it should’ve been released as a “CD only” track for physical copy sales? However for a debut release, this is a solid album worthy of a spot in my new time capsule… 4 out of 5 stars. Also, tip of the hat goes to Jalipaz Nelson at Audioconfusion for the production and recording duties.
Join Citrus Clouds for the release of In Time I Am at The Rogue Bar in Scottsdale on Dec. 19th. They’ll be performing with Tierra Firme, Jade Helm, and The Lonesome Wilderness. For more information on that event, head here.