Edward Rogers – Catch A Cloud
Released 25 June 2021
New 11 track album from singer/songwriter/DJ Edward Rogers, his eighth in total. He is assisted on this album by a host of musicians and singers, including James Mastro, Marty Willson-Piper and Stephanie Seymour and the record is produced by Don Piper. Ian Canty ponders the long range forecast…
Though Edward Rogers was born in Birmingham and spent his early childhood there, he moved to New York with his family at the age of 12. This was just around the time when The Beatles were spearheading the onslaught of UK bands in the US and intrigued, Edward soon began playing drums in a variety of bands. In 1985 a subway accident put an end to his drumming career. Edward then decided to focus instead on singing and writing songs. Here he truly found his niche. In the 21st century he partnered Amanda Thorpe in The Bedsit Poets and has performed alongside Stephen Butler as Rogers & Butler, as well as having a lively solo career. I saw the latter pairing on the same bill as John Howard at the Lexington a few years back and he proved an engaging presence as part of that duo.
Catch A Cloud is his eight solo album and was completed in 2019, just before the pandemic kicked in. This record finds Rogers working with producer Don Piper and a wide range of musicians, including Marty Willson-Piper (The Church) and James Mastro ex The Bongoes. Together they work to provide a verdant musical landscape. At the time of recording Edward was laid up with a bad leg and this naturally lead to feelings of isolation and introspection, which fed into the album’s themes.
The weird but lush country rush of Imaginary Man leads the listener into Catch A Cloud, there’s some delicate and well crafted instrumental work on this tune. The song addresses one’s conscience, something which can torture every waking moment if you let it get out of hand. What Happened To Us? follows, starting with a spartan but pretty guitar, though soon the band kicks in with gusto. There’s touches of both folk and glam here, an odd combo, but it works.
Edward’s voice reminds me a bit of Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs, but the sonic arrangements on Catch A Cloud aren’t like them at all. That said, the chorus of What Happened To Us? yields a wonderful, ecstatic payoff. A guitar shimmers on Button and the lyric seems to collect a set of rueful memories, all pointing to how musical hero worship almost always ends badly. A baroque string section swerves in, there’s a great use of echo and what sounds very like pedal steel. It all musically it builds up a picture of high quality modern psychedelic pop.
(Not on the album but here’s a taste of Edward in action)
The Cost Of Love is a slower, quieter item, a bare dreamlike waft of sound. The way that love proves an irresistible temptation but takes a huge toil on those involved isn’t a new concept in itself, but it is well told here and with real feeling. The band barrels in tensely on Too Far From The Candle, with Edward ramping up the atmosphere a further notch with an edgy vocal. Sitars give the tune a period psychedelic feel, something which is neatly enhanced by a groovy chorus and an acidic guitar break.
Starting with a racing electronic pulse which fades out to luxurious guitar strums, This Bird Has Flown is more upbeat with a solid rhythm. This number could almost be very attractive synth pop or new wave, bar the chamber music section that cuts the song in half. The title track Catch A Cloud comes next, a gentle, sunny acoustic lament, folk pop par excellence. I’m Leaving Redhill starts in unlikely fashion with eastern drones, plus a playful acoustic strum. Has there ever been another song written about Redhill? I don’t know for sure, but this one is damn catchy. The backing vocals dovetail nicely with Edward’s voice here, producing a great effect that just highlights the work that has gone into the album.
Thankfully not alluding to Compo and Co, Last Of The Summer Wine is breezy guitar pop which slides into wavering chords and choral sounds. It works well enough and is followed by Hayley, a cool and infectious tribute to Whistle Down The Wind star Ms Mills. As so often on Catch A Cloud, there’s a dream-like feel and a sax soloing away in the background hints at many a downbeat 1970s pop classic. The final offering The Head Of The Nail comes in with backward sound flips and a foreboding drone. This song namechecks Robert Wyatt and the recurring theme of mental anguish looms up here again. This a graveyard stomp/ghost stomp which strangely enough made me think of The Specials for some reason. It is also quite beautiful in its darkness and adds up to quite a way to put a cap on the LP.
Catch A Cloud is a great set of thoroughly appealing sounds and original thought. Edward using his voice adeptly to endow his songs with real character and charisma, with a good eye for detail in his lyrics too. This is given the ideal musical setting by a clutch of cracking players and a fine production job, resulting in a deep and thoughtful record made by someone who has obviously lived through some dark times, but came out the other end still kicking back and wiser for the experience.
All words by Ian Canty – see his author profile here