Gayle Cloud – Many Waters
Well it’s been about four years since Gayle Cloud’s first release Second Chance. Much of the same sound is still present on her latest album Many Waters as she teams up with producer John Pahmer for the second time. Returning fans and new listeners alike will find it difficult to box Gayle into any one particular genre.
Many Waters as a whole has a very “big” sound – cinematic, if you will. The first track “Many Waters” appropriately opens up with the sound of water, along with strings, percussion, and a piano riff that provides for the eerie vibe that lasts until the chorus. I wasn’t so crazy about the chorus, though. It took away from that eeriness I was just beginning to love. Thankfully, the song weaves in and out of the dark mood pretty seamlessly.
There are lots of surprises throughout the album. This is certainly not formulaic music. On “Bombay” for instance, it sounds like a pretty guitar ballad until we reach about a minute and twenty seconds where this really cool and unexpected bass line comes in, providing the perfect rhythmic bed for the Middle Eastern feel the song morphs into towards the end. I wouldn’t have caught it if I had simply just skipped to the next track.
There’s a good deal of electronic elements sprinkled throughout the record as well. From the Drum n Bass drum programming of “Going Home” to the muted kicks and muffled snares of “Turn Around Loverboy”; it all makes for a very interesting listening experience.
Many Waters – and Gayle Cloud’s sound overall – boils down to a matter of taste. The combination of world instruments, electronic drum programming, heavy reverb on the vocals and every other sound on the album all contribute to creating a theatrical effect that one will either find charming or annoying. There were times I felt like I was listening to The Prince of Egypt soundtrack, and other occasions where I felt I was hearing music from a Broadway show. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but certainly a worthwhile and enjoyable listen.