In the course of only two years now, Cloudland Canyon have burst onto the scene in a rather prolific way, with a full-length release (Requiems der Nature 2002-2004), a split release (Exterminating Angel, with Lichens), and an EP ( Silver Tongued Sisyphus). Now, the duo is already back with their second full-length album Lie In Light and it feels like a culmination of their work to date, settling into a comfortable seven-song setting that blurs together some driving krauty rhythms with a healthy does of pure kosmische, as layers and layers of synths blur together into a heady haze.
The listener pretty much gets what the title states with album-opener "Krautwerk." Clipping along with a metronomic, Neu!-like rhythm, the track lofts everything from washes of synths to fuzzy guitar solos and chanted vocals over the nearly seven-minute song while peaking gently and drifting off again. From there out, basically every-other song on the release finds the group drifting off into the ether. "White Woman" bleeds through clouds of more synth and guitar as sing-songy vocals (with downright goofy lyrics) add only a semblance of a backbone, while "You & I" mingles some soft programmed beats with pitch-blurping twangs of synths (calling all Cluster-heads) and nearly completely submerged vocals into a gem of a track.
It's also on the tracks where the group displays more of a rhythmic edge that they are the strongest. "Heme" powers up from scattered, twinkling notes and some warbling synth lines into something that sounds what you might get if Eno and Moebius jammed out on the beach at dusk, while album-closer "Mothlight Part 1" finds the duo creating a fuzzy pop track that's in line with the amazing work from Bandwagonesque-era Teenage Fanclub. Elsewhere, though, the group lacks a bit of focus, and on noodlers like "Scheisse Schatzi, Auf Wiedersehen!," you wish they'd focus a bit more. In the end, Lie In Light has its moments, but isn't quite consistent enough to really stand out from the rest of the motorik / new (or neu, natch) kraut crowd.