Lorde-Approved Duo Majical Cloudz Finds Beauty in Raw Honesty on 'Are You Alone?': Album Review

Majical Cloudz
Album Review
3.5
Courtesy Photo
<p>When Majical Cloudz were handpicked by Lorde to open a month of dates on her 2014 North American arena tour, the Montreal duo, with its handheld mic and a keyboard perched on an ironing board, was almost comically dwarfed by the venues and the headliner’s stage sets. But in a way, it was the perfect setting for singer Devon Welsh and instrumentalist Matthew Otto’s hauntingly sparse synth pop (a fitting description they’re guaranteed to loathe). Sophomore album <em>Are You Alone? </em>is built on church-organ-like keys and almost inaudible percussion that lay bare Welsh’s uncomfortably vulnerable lyrics, which are like&nbsp;conversations you overheard and wish you hadn’t (“Red wine and sleeping pills/You’re gonna die so you say, but you’re here still,” from the title track). It’s evocative and vivid, recalling early <a href="http://www.billboard.com/artist/364772/red-house-painters/chart">Red House Painters</a>, or even <a href="http://www.billboard.com/artist/386319/blue-nile/chart">The&nbsp;Blue Nile</a>.</p><p><em>Listen to Majical Cloudz and other artists from this week's issue of Billboard.</em></p><p><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="380" src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify%3Auser%3Abillboard.com%3Aplaylist%3A2ebTCwa8ZN6fwSGwFVLkxV" width="300"></iframe></p><p><em>This article originally appeared in the <a href="http://shop.billboard.com/collections/back-issues/products/billboard-back-issue-volume-127-issue-31">Oct. 24 issue of Billboard</a>.</em></p>