Chicago band JT and the Clouds have atmosphere down to a fine art. Their songs create a sense of desolation, or hope in bad times (as required) perfectly, and they are made for dancing to. Their song lyrics also add to the atmosphere, fit the music and rhyme – just don’t listen too closely, or you’ll find that most of them are disappointingly meaningless.
The band – also known in a less full-on version as JT Nero – is led by singer-songwriter Jeremy Lindsay. He has a dramatic and soulful voice that can reach into the falsetto range and that more than holds its own against the big array of instruments and backing singers that include members of the Canadian group Po’ Girl, which whom the Clouds toured the UK last year.
The album opens with two strong tracks – the clever and melodically strong “Fever Dream” and the surprisingly catchy “Funeral”, which is definitely the standout track. As the album progresses, however, there is a nagging sense of repetition, and few of the tracks have lyrics that stand up to much scrutiny.
Nonetheless, this is a band with a unique sound, a very strong frontman and every indication that they would provide an excellent live experience. It’s impossible not to be caught up in the mood of JT and the Clouds and to appreciate the power of their performance. Most of the time that’s more than enough.
JT and the Clouds return to the UK for a series of headline shows next month. Details in the gig guide.