Beware the Ides of Space. (Points added for literacy; points subtracted for obvious opening. -- Ed) Modestly mousing their way through the new, angular sound of indie-rock, Ides of Space offer songs that grow with each listen, and that probably have the shelf-life of Twinkies. Taking what now seem to be the de rigeur trappings of modern post-punk pop-rock -- oddly-syncopated, not-always-quite-4/4 drumming, echoing lead guitar lines, spacey keyboards, melancholy, half-sung floating lyrics and plenty of distortion -- Ides of Space meander through this well-produced album with grace and aplomb.
These five Sydney, Australia natives clearly don't want to be pinned down in a particular genre. Their songs don't necessarily tackle a wide variety of styles, but they concentrate on keeping your attention. That's right -- this is a band that cares more about keeping their album in your CD player than about giving you a clear idea of where to shelve it when you're done listening. Originally released as two EPs recorded by studio guru Wayne Connolly, and released here as one album, There Are No New Clouds hodge-podges slow, pensive, compositions like "Movie Ending" and "Computer World" with poppy neck-strainers such as "No Trace of Fading" and "Arthur's Car".
Thankfully, vocalist/guitarist Patrick Haid seems to care about melody. His voice is strong, rich and exceptionally well-recorded -- see "Keep Writing" and "Switchboard" -- which is a rare occurrence indeed, given the recent popularity of tone-deaf wailers and threadbare production. The haunting combination of Haid's voice and the violin on "Switchboard" is probably the album's best moment; you really stop what you're doing and listen. The The brothers, David and Anthony, guitarist Mark Ayoub, and keyboardist Martin Barker provide the perfect backdrop, track for track, while Haid offers insouciant laments and recalls times gone by. The songs are well-rehearsed -- indeed, they sound as if every beat and hook was thought out months in advance. That's not to say that they sound processed; rather, each song comes off as being well-attended by these more-than-capable musicians.
The Ides of Space should be touring throughout the winter. I cannot recommend their live show highly enough -- these guys are doing it better than most.