by Max Freedman (@anticlimaxwell)
“Two Hands Bound,” the newest taste of Long Island native Tyler Taormina’s upcoming third Cloud album, Plays With Fire, begins interestingly enough. A low-pitched yet jubilant piano note repeats at a modest tempo as a psychedelic wave of synths gradually surrounds it, but it’s what happens next that really makes things exciting. As the first verse begins, a wash of instrumentation larger in breadth than the already-established piano and synth helps the unusual impact of Taormina’s nasal, high-pitched wail land comfortingly rather than jarringly. This trick—loose washes of jungle-striped, washed-out bliss blending with Taormina’s incredibly Panda Bear-esque voice—defines the highlights of Plays With Fire, out March 9 via Audio Antihero. “Two Hands Bound” is perhaps the album’s brightest example of this miracle, and Post-Trash is thrilled to premiere it.
Cloud is largely Taormina’s own doing, but it would be nothing without a little help from his friends. On “Two Hands Bound,” he provides piano, synths, handclaps, and of course his lyrics and vocals, but it’s his collaborators’ guitar and backing vocal contributions that elevate the song from a modest experience to one worth writing home about. “Two Hands Bound” demonstrates Cloud’s simultaneous independence and strong sense of community; both these features have defined Cloud from the beginning. Press releases about Cloud have traditionally listed its members as “Tyler Taormina and friends,” and his longtime label is essentially the pet project of one guy, Jamie Halliday. Cloud is simultaneously DIY—there’s no disputing that Taormina’s vision is the one being heard—and a symbiotic relationship between its leader and the people he trusts the most. This arrangement is out of necessity; Cloud has been, and always will be, a project about navigating conflicting, hefty emotions, and this process just can’t be done without the help of close friends. “Two Hands Bound” brings four friends into the fold as Taormina explores the burnout that can accompany overworking oneself, but it doesn’t sound labored-over at all; instead, it’s about as effortless as psychedelic music gets.
Cloud's Plays With Fire is out March 9 via Audio Antihero.