Deriving their name from a Vladimir Nabokov short story about a voyager, who finds a place so beautiful that he wants to spent his life there, before being cruelly dragged back to reality, the Dublin, Ireland-based act Cloud Castle Lake, currently comprised of Daniel McAuley (vocals, synths), Brendan William Jenkinson (guitar, piano), Rory O’Connor (bass), Brendan Doherty (drums), and a rotating cast of collaborators, friends and associates received attention with their 2014 self-released debut EP Dandelion, an effort that found the Irish pop act juxtaposing dark, despairing lyrics with a euphoric catharsis that’s largely influenced by the work of Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders. Adding to a growing profile, the band has opened for touring acts such as Glasser, Lisa Hanningan and Ultraisa.
Late last year, I wrote about their breathtakingly gorgeous Amnesiac-era Radiohead-like single “Bonfire,” and the cinematic, Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp and Ennio Morricone soundtrack-like “Twins” off the band’s forthcoming, highly anticipated-Rob Kirwan-produced debut album, Malingerer both of which prominently feature McAuley’s achingly tender falsetto. Slated for an April 20, 2018 release through Bright Antenna Records, Cloud Castle Lake’s full-length debut reveals an act writing their most ambitious and thought provoking material to date, making the album a gorgeous and transcendent statement of intent, and the album’s first official single, album title track “Malingerer,” is a cinematic and expansive track that draws from the cosmic jazz explorations of John Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders and Sun Ra, Amnesiac-era Radiohead and Sigur Ros — but with an unusual song structure that features several sections that manage to simultaneously be discordant yet flow into each other, while being an otherworldly experience.
As the band’s Daniel McAuley says impress notes, “’Malingerer’ started out as a recording of Brendan J[enkinson] just messing around on a piano through a cool echo effect. There was a mood to it that was instantly very inspiring. As we fleshed it out into a song we constantly referred back to the early recordings to make sure we maintained that feeling. One of the reasons it has such a bonkers structure is that we wanted each section to flow into the next and progress without losing that initial spark. A big goal of the album was to get closer to our most honest and original sound together. We consider it the one that best articulates that. I did that textbook thing and went off to a remote cabin to try write. It was in the middle of nowhere in Donegal, no running water or electricity and at the tail end of a January storm so I went a little bit crazy there and the lyrics absorbed a lot of that.”