Cloudsplitter Cloudsplitter

The debut album from Vancouver, BC's Cloudsplitter is a country folk treasure. It opens quite pleasantly with acoustic finger picking, strains of steel guitar and the warm vocals of Dave Gowans (the Buttless Chaps). But flashes of brilliance throughout the record draw the hand to the volume knob; Cloudsplitter's songs are insistent and engaging. The album's downhearted lyrical themes are leavened by the efforts of Gowans' adept bandmates: guitarist/banjo player Doug Liddle (Swank), drummer Stephen Lyons (Fond of Tigers) and bassist/pianist Jesse Gander (the Hive Studios, Ghosthouse). Jolts of frisky piano in "Tasks at Hand," swells of poignant backup vocals on "Citizen of the Town" and the convulsive guitar freak-out that closes "In Between" are a few of the moments that give the album its sparkle. Cloudsplitter raises goose bumps with its unhurried melodies and precise, countrified arrangements and then flickers out, leaving a warm afterglow. (Offseason)