The Winter Of Our Discontent is the debut album by Caves & Clouds. Coming all the way from Brooklyn, NY, this dazzling duo compromise of both EW Harris and Jo Kroger. I previously wrote about Kroger on this blog January last year having been hooked on both of her EP’s Trouble Night and The Simplest.
March this year Caves & Clouds launched a crowd funding campaign on IndieGogo, they raised just under $4600 and despite not reaching the $9000 goal every single cent counts. At this moment in time Clouds & Caves have just two demos which have uploaded to Soundcloud, These tunes being Dangerous and Glass And Timber. Honestly from just listening, these dazzling demos knocked me for six.
At the end of April Jo Kroger reached out to me on Twitter and mentioned about her brand new project. She then provided me with a stream of The Winter Of Our Discontent and those 8 gorgeous songs rendered me speechless. Basically The Winter Of Our Discontent was a magical piece of perfection smothered in plenty of folk goodness. What I especially liked was the fact there wasn’t one person at the fore front of each number featured, Jo took the lead for some tracks with Eric harmonising vice versa.
Things opened up with Dangerous, this dazzling song was acoustic folk. Harris took the lead for this opener and his vibrant vocals radiated plenty of smooth folk vibes. Then you had Kroger who came in with those sumptuous harmonies. Those impeccable lyrics left me enthralled making this something that had been well crafted. Glass And Timber saw Kroger take the lead which resulted in something rather breathtaking. Now Glass And Timber was a well written song aided by dreamy lyrics and Jo’s enchanting vocals which were a breath of fresh air. Whenever I listen to this relaxing tune it immediately sends shivers up my spine. Things Fall Apart was a uptempo folk cut aided by Eric’s pleasant vocals and shimmering harmonies from Jo. “It’s quiet in the rooms in the hospital/ Roof gone missing, so the skies on the inside”. Basically this charming cut was a game of two halves. The second portion was both gentle and swooning which left me in a complete daze. Track number 4 of this delectable record was Fire Escape and this saw Jo Kroger at the forefront and Eric Wilson Harris added in his rich harmonies. Kroger’s slick vocal tones were incredibly uplifting and those clear cut lyrics were top notch “Sit me on the Fire Escape/ Don’t let me burn easy/ Don’t let me burn fast/ Don’t let me burn/ Gotta get a little space/ On the Fire Escape/ Don’t let me fall down”. Jo then took the lead for Mary and this being a mesmerising tune with impeccable lyrics which had me hooked from the word go. This superbly pieced together track took inspiration from the nursery rhyme Mary, Mary Quite Contrary “Mary, Mary, Mary/ How does your garden grow/ Did you build it from scratch/ Did you buy it in patches/ Does a man really reep what he sews/ Do your hands really reep what they sew”. It was then time for a bit of Pneumania, now this was a compelling number aided by Harris’s refreshing vocal tones. As Pnuemania progressed the pace picked up resulting in something which left me in a trance. Then you had those whimsical lyrics which were a work of art ” So I drink to stay alive/ Drink to fill back up/ I drink to stay alive/ Drink to fill back up/ I drink to stay alive/ Contain the empty inside”. The penultimate track being That Shirt, I have to say this song left me spellbound. Jo Kroger took the lead for this one, her vocals were candy coated and it was so pleasing on my ear. Basically That Shirt was an enchanting tune aided by gorgeous vocals and hypnotic lyrics “Something unruly snags me back/ That Shirt/ So just put down your paper/ We’ll read through the weekend/ Wrap me up in your coffee”. Things then came to an end with Alchemist and this was an upbeat entrancing jam which was packed with a punch. Harris took the lead for this curtain closer and his breezy vocals were so smooth.
Glass And Timber
Things Fall Apart
OVERALL: Being a lover of folk music made me fully appreciate this album. The Winters Of Our Discontent was a startling record which showcased both Eric and Jo’s sublime song writing skills. Choosing a favourite song from this luscious LP is impossible because they each have there own strengths.
I especially liked the fact both Harris and Kroger alternate when it comes to taking the lead. Most bands nowadays have one main singer who performs each song. With both Jo and Eric taking turns not only does it showcase the fact they can write an extraordinary song but it also brings their vocal tones to the forefront.
Before listening to this record I was familiar with Jo Kroger and I was hearing EW Harris for the very first time. His vocals actually impressed me greatly, the songs he performed reminded me of Marcus Mumford from the UK folk rock band Mumford & Sons.
Finally Caves & Clouds are onto something rather good here and I hope there is a 2nd album.