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'Out of a Black Cloud' Comes a Great Album: Ruby Throat's Sophmore Triumph

Posted by Aaron Detroit, May 12, 2010 08:15pm | Post a Comment
Ruby Throat KatieJane Garside
Last week, I posted details
about the new limited deluxe vinyl edition of Folk-Noir duo Ruby Throat’s cult-classic debut, The Ventriloquist. This week , Amoeba Hollywood has just received quantity of Ruby Throat's sophomore full-length recording, Out of a Black Cloud Came a Bird. The album was released in a limited Special Edition CD run in November 2009, but has now been issued in this standard digipak CD edition.

Ruby Throat vocalist KatieJane Garside became quite prolific this past decade with three separate musical projects running in tandem  with each other (as well as a one-off LP with Hector Zazou - R.I.P); the long-running Queenadreena with former Daisy Chainsaw cohort Crispin Gray, her solo project Lalleshwari, and Ruby Throat with guitarist Chris Wittingham. While Queenadreena is a bombastic, cathartic and lustfully-charged rush bemoaning innocence lost, Lalleshwari revealed a more rudimentary, internal and transitive process of the artist. With Ruby Throat, Garside draws the characters in her songs as reflective, self-aware and with a sense to the nature of their struggles, though still very much struggling.

Black Cloud finds Garside's unsettling fairytale-stylings firmly rooted in her usual but always powerful psychosexual minefield of hushed lullabye, bluesy belting and bat-shit babelouge. Wittingham's Ruby Throat Out of A Black Cloudpsychedelic soundscapes and dreamy dark Americana-influenced arrangements are richer and fuller here but with the same minimalist bent and care as on the group’s debut.

The album opens with quiet murmurs over angelic harmonies and chimy picking that sets the tone and fully captures the warm yet unnerving atmosphere that most Ruby Throat songs exist inside of and which fans are now very familiar with. “Shark” lyrically suggests a solace in the feeling of being cared for, even when danger is very much present. Wittingham’s foreboding rhythm guitar adeptly mimics this feeling, while Garside’s voice slightly cracks with a knowing fear. The search for solace, wellness and stability each appear as strong veins within Black Cloud. However, Garside also paints her characters as pessimistic and as their own worst enemies. On “Beneath My Undress” she purrs:

“Same time I escape the rope / So I put it back about my throat /
Blunt, Cold, hard hit /  On angels feet beneath I slip”



And on “Bolt The Horse”:

“When someone breaks you / The terrible truth is /
You want no mending /
…I bolt the horse / I grip the gate /
I split the meat /I take the bait”


The album’s centerpiece comes in the form of a striking, if not surprising, reading of Townes Van Zandt’s classic lament “Nothin,’” which stands strongly next to the original with a shadowy blues arrangement by Wittingham. Garside’s voice clings pensively to the song’sKatieJane Garside Ruby Throat final lines:

“Sorrow and solitude / these are the precious things
And the only words  / that are worth rememberin'”

But as the album title suggests, during great struggle is when one may find their wings– beauty, art, and love – all the things that make life worth living. On the album’s final and title track Garside’s subject finds a bird of love and hope emerging from the Black Cloud of self-doubt and emotional baggage.
"Out of a black cloud /
Came a bird / Out of a black cloud / Came a bird..."


Amoeba Hollywood has quantity of the Out of a Black Cloud Came a Bird import digipak CD featuring hand-drawing artwork by KatieJane Garside at a very fetching domestic price of $10.98. The vinyl release is being planned for winter via The Lovers’ Will imprint.

Relevant Tags

Queenadreena (1), Katiejane Garside (4), Ruby Throat (6), Daisy Chainsaw (1), Amoeba Music Hollywood (104), Goth (42), Indie (3), Folk (32)