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Shelby Bryant | Cloud-Wow Music (Smells Like Records)
"It's a lovely day and it happened to be lovely by surprise." That's how this record begins and very happily remains... a lovely surprise of an album. It's probably one of the most musical records I've heard of late. And I can't say enough good things about it. According to various website info Shelby Bryant was part of Memphis ensemble The Clears. (Right, me neither. But I can tell you that I was ordering my copy online faster than you can type www.smellslikerecords.com.) From what I can tell, after just one release, The Clears packed up and went their solo ways. I have to say (and I haven't yet heard the Clears) that I am grateful for this twist of fate. What if Mr Bryant had not been set free to create his cloud music and wow the world with his pastel painted pop? I mean, I guess I wouldn't have known - therefore unable to know the difference, but I do believe that my life is incalculably better for having heard Peebly McNownow. Imagine Robert Wyatt's Shleep married to Richard Davies' There's Never Been a Crowd Like This Before with Daniel Johnston as best man. And how fitting that this bizarre and wonderful album includes a cover of Daniel Johnston's Wedding. As Shelby so eloquently sings on Never Wrong ?? "A song can never go wrong / because it is set to music / just like everything is" ?? from that glorious first line to It's arabesque ending, Cloud-Wow Music is always right.

Tracy Lee Jackson
CWAS #8 - Summer 2001

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