Shoegaze outfit Citrus Clouds delivers a varied exploration of sonic textures and styles in their latest album Collider. Change and color is at the core of this ten track collection, from the shifting of male and female vocals to the genre nosedives into pop, noise rock, shoegaze and dreamy psychedelics. Songs range from expansive soundscapes to gritty, urgent rock. On top of that Citrus Clouds juggles these stylistic dimensions quite well with the sequencing of its tracks, leading to an experience that feels seamless even with the many varying emotions and avenues it takes.
The album starts off bright with openers “Honey” and “A Pastel Sky”, which offer bright and saccharine melodies over faded riffs and a laid-back vibe. “Whoa” takes on a more psychedelic turn with elements phasing in and out of each other, like shards of mirrors strung together to cause a kaleidoscopic effect. Early on you can see the band’s skill in creating beautiful and lush compositions, and they pretty much maintain it through the end.
Don’t be so complacent though as the album jumps out at you later on in the title track. Here Citrus Clouds goes for a heavier, more urgent tempo. Everything feels a bit more weighty and the textures take on a strong industrial theme, making it feel larger than life. After finding out that this song was lyrically inspired by the large Hadron Collider at CERN, it all makes sense. Similarly, “Summer Everywhere” could have easily fallen on to the pop side of the album, but the band puts a clever twist on this one. The song is about the sweltering heat of the Phoenix sun bearing down on you, with wailing guitars and crashing riffs giving off the feeling of being outside during a hot summer noon.
The final leg of Collider goes into more psychedelic rock territory and in my opinion is where the band pushes their technical boundaries to the limit. “Feel the Spirit” has a strong astral and existential theme to it, which matches well with its glimmering riffs and ethereal vocals that slide in and out of each other. This transcendent theme extends towards “Whenever That Might Be” and the closing “Motion Blur”, which both lingers on questions about life and mulling about our own existence on a day-to-day basis.
For fans of ambient, atmospheric and lush shoegaze, you’ll find a lot to love here. For the rest, Collider’s strong pop sensibilities and wonderful soundscapes can easily hook you in. Citrus Clouds have truly outdone themselves here, and we can’t wait for more.