A collection of media reviews of Rainfall books & music
Music & Elsewhere:  Mick Magic.  1998. UK: Steve  Lines  is a  pretty  well known name throughout subterranean circles via his excellent psychedelic label, Acid Tapes, and he also produces some very fine music. This one is the most recent cassette album we have, 1995 vintage, and don’t forget Stormclouds are for life, not just for Christmas! Another psychedelic masterpiece is this, and it really shows off the full range of the band’s abilities, so it’s a good introduction to the more recent CD work. Acoustic and electric guitars mingle together with Pinky & Perky femme vocals (still Louise Allen at this time), all with jingle bells on top. Hey, Santa Claws is Freddy Kruger, don’t you doubt it! Some charmingly humorous psychefolk ballads with rather angelic vocals, classic cheesy keyboards solos, vintage Stormclouds space bubblegum numbers, tinky town keyboards rhythms, fuzz guitar and psychotronic movie clips, psychokitschespacepunk that captures the teen spirit of The Shangri Las (!), from Kirsty MacColl to The Revillos, it’s all here, that sound that is pure Stormclouds. The full range of music, the full range of vocals, from psychotronic bimbo right up to the folky beauty of Sonja Kristina. So here it is, merry Christmas!

Music  &  Elsewhere:  Mick  Magic. February  1996.  UK: A  typically  twee psychotronic masterpiece from Steve Lines and Louise Allen. Christmas may be over but you’ll love this album madly anyway. It’s Stormclouds. Stormclouds are for life, not just for Christmas! Acoustic and electric guitars, Pinky & Perky vocals from Louise, and all with jingle bells on top. Santa Claws is Freddy Kruger, ya know, he’ll rip your heart out before you ever get your pressies, all his secrets are revealed on this album, trust me, I’m a spaceman. Some nice and humorous acoustic ballads with Louise singing (at the correct frequency) beautifully as usual, classic cheesy keyboard solos complete the kitscheness of it all. Plenty of them classic Stormclouds style space-bubblegum numbers, tinky toy keyboard rhythms, fuzz guitars and genuine psychotronic (well Christmas type) movie clips. Psychokitsche punk that captures the teen anthem spirit of The Shangri Las, from Sonja Kristina to Pinky & Perky, from Kirsty MacColl to the Revillos, Santa is a spaceman and he’s coming to abduct you for all sorts of nasty experiments! So here it is, Merry Christmas everybody...
Unhinged  #5:  Paul  Ricketts. Winter  1989.  UK: It’s a light as air, throwaway pop rush, sometimes quiet, almost folky but track by track getting more and more fuzz laden with interruptions of found sound from films to tie together the Christmassy theme. From the singalong Groovy Yule with its chittering leprechaun voices under it like the intrusion of the pagan ceremony that it really is. It’s Like Christmas - "Everyday’s like Christmas when you’re here" is the really syrupy love song. Stormclouds is a sleighride through the sky in the same way that ‘Roadrunner’ is a driving song. Christmas Kiss is the Ramones brought to Christmas with echoes of Spector (these Christmas collections have a fine tradition there). Last track is Santa Claws where the usual theme of loss and heartbreak and death that haunt Stormclouds’ songs comes out in a countryblue song. The tape ends with Santa being blown up. Either that or he gets fed up and blows up the kiddies.
Paul  Ricketts:  Unpublished.  December  1992.  UK: Lost in  Space may be similar to Raindrops, but it was no duplicate. Fuzzed for sure, but the rhythms under the fuzz are all Bolan, whose beat subtly runs through this in the same unexpected way it ran through Opal’s Happy Nightmare Baby album and for those of you asleep in your ears, there was 20th Century Girl to make the tribute obvious. This use of Bolan is surprisingly underused in contemporary pop - I would have expected the influence to spring up mutating through the 80’s just as 50’s Chuck Berry resurfaced mutating through the 60’s. Still this ranks as Stormclouds’ most satisfying release, simply an exuberant parcel of pop songs from the sci-fi’/trash culture of Lost in Space, Shadowqueen, Satellite Baby and Junk; the flaring anger of Get Lost and The Last Song; the disjointed dreaming of Sandman (the detuned TV feel of this would soon surface as the whole Psychotronic tape), the death songs like Candy (the country music morbidity keeps surfacing, even if the sound disappeared from Stormclouds music with the banjo), the sole sparse acoustic muser Heart of Stone, to the classic pop of Let’s Talk About Love, which reappeared on vinyl on an EP free with
Sweden’s New Kind of Kick magazine.

Unhinged #6: Paul Ricketts. Spring 1990. UK: It’s quite simply the best pop collection I anticipate hearing in 1990. Even if the Jesus & Mary Chain get an LP out this year they’re going to have to bust a gut to come up with something better. Stormclouds are still just Steve Lines playing the music, gtrs, keyboards, bass and drum box programmed almost as free as a kit drummer, and Louise Allen on voices. Right from the opening title track the sound as well as the songs leap out at you with an impossible combination of catchiness and power. Lost in Space is full of steals from the TV series, which I is just as if the cast had reassembled to help record this. The songs here are the best collection that they’ve written and should be singles, should be on the radio in the same way you could tell from the first time you heard Blondie or the Ramones that they should be on the radio with hits. These songs are primarily pop songs, in that they could be hummed by anyone. The playing is basically fuzzed guitars, playing with a rush that sweeps the words along without ever making the indistinct. The pick of the songs apart from the title track are Let’s talk About Love which is one of those pop songs, like early Beatles, or classic Beach Boys which you experience but don’t/can’t dissect. In 1990 this is the spirit of pop and anyone who’s still deaf to this music must be living in a strange dim world. This is up to date in the same spirit as the Zebra Stripes LP and is easily the most played tape in this pile. There’s the two acoustic tracks, Heart of Stone and Junk which give respite from the race in the middle of each side. Shadowqueen is an Opal steal, let’s be sure everything here is a steal, but that IS what pop is always about. Show me someone who claims to be original and I’ll show you a liar - nobody, not even such figures as Captain Beefheart could claim to be original. Opal filtering Bolan rhythms which were a side of Chuck Berry taken in isolation and accentuated; now that rhythm is uplifted from Opal’s dark moods into this excitement. It’s not all sunshine by any means, though songs like Satellite Baby and Lost in Space are straight fun, there’s a lot of anger (Get Lost), undercurrents, maybe not as many corpses died for love as is usual in Steve Lines’ lyrics (there’s still Candy in the song Candy) and pain and love (Junk). With this, their fourth release, Stormclouds seem to be getting a control of voice and instruments and of the recording process to get it across, that is making their music more essential every month and their constant refusal to make people aware of what they’re doing the more frustrating.
MMATTRIX  #6  #9:  Mick  Magic.  December  1992.  UK: This is more than an album, this is a psychotronic experience. The tracks are linked by clips from famous movies of the genre, and TV shows like "Lost in Space" and "Star Trek", naturally. Bouncy toytown sequences and beatbox, fuzzbox guitar and twee vocals, sometimes slightly sped up for extra psychotronic effect. The Revillos meet the B52’s, jam on some old T. Rex, play around with M’s Moonlight and Muzak and become the Shrangri Las in space.

Flickers ‘n’ Frames 16: John M. Peters. June 1992. UK: Stormclouds have been mentioned before in this column, basically a duo of vocalist Louise Allen and Steve Lines on instruments and vocals, they now have four albums available on Acid Tapes. Along with Psychotronic, there is It’s Raining Still, Raindrops and Lost in Space. The debut album, It’s Raining Still stands out from the rest as being decidedly country-folk orientated with some melodic songs. However from Raindrops on the group slimmed down to the aforementioned duo and their sound radically changed, with all the songs taking on a definite science fiction/trash horror influence - especially of the trashy films of the 50’s and 60’s.
Hence titles such as The Creature From Galaxy X, The Ungrateful Dead, Satellite Baby, Lost in Space and Galaxina. Louise Allen has a voice that can mimic the heroines of 50’s trash films to a ‘T’ and the use of samples dialogue mixed to Steve Lines fuzz guitar and drum box adds spice to songs that set your feet tapping from the first revolution of the tape spindle. It’s a shame Stormclouds are not more widely known, as all sf fans would appreciate the humour and affection the group have for the genre.

Unhinged #9: Paul Ricketts. November 1991. UK: This tape is in the weirdly psychedelic vein rather than their usual fuzzed pop bubbles, using keyboards and special effects more than guitar to re-record a bunch of old favourites such as Lost in Space and The Creature From Galaxy X as well as a bunch of new numbers which almost incidentally answer the question that has long plagued me about how The Seeds would have sounded if they had simultaneously been overdosed on Helium and Largactil. The new songs are all short - apparently the length of time of what could be programmed into the keyboards memory. The resulting sound is like being caught in an episode of The Time Tunnel. It’s strange and amusing, though none of the songs have the impact of the original versions; instead they drift as if in and out of a dream, Louise’s vocals echoed so far that they have a blurred feel to them and when the music hits a fast tempo as on The 2 Dimensional Man the sound is more reminiscent of such outer space explorers as The Tornadoes or The Sputniks, the world of outer space as seen through ‘50’s coloured goggles. If you can listen to this and not see visions then your senses must be radically different to mine. That’s not to imply it’s all jokery. The Day the Earth Stood Still is a gentle lullaby verging on the Hawaiian, a sort of country girls falls in love with a spaceman tale that is required lonely night listening here, but in intent and effect it is a Stormclouds side-track not the next fireworks display.

Flickers ‘n’ Frames #13: Carl Meewezen. Summer 1991. UK: "If you’re too old you’ll be embarrassed! If you’re too young, you won’t understand!" says the advert. I guess I must be just the right age, as I think this fun-filled collection of quirky, amusing and highly unusual songs is terrific entertainment.
Quite rightly "Recommended for mature audiences" old enough to remember their first exposure to the SF genre via STAR TREK (neatly parodied here by He’s Dead Jim) or earlier alien invasion classics like IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE. Psychotronic is a package of nostalgic charm and post-punk weirdness sure to find favour with SF fandom’s twenty-somethings. The opening title track sets the reverential tone for this fantastic album, with its introductory snatches of dialogue from various genre TV and film productions. Singer Louise Allen offers the perfect excuse, "When I’m not watching TV I read comics" for Stormclouds apparent passion for SF pulp cultures. The music concocted by songwriter Steve Lines is inventive and occasionally bizarre, with strange sound effects, overdubbed voices and curious little tunes that bounce around in your head for days after.
Psychotronic is cheaply produced, slightly amateurish and at times too whimsical. But the affectionate parodies and mocking tributes to both 50’s SF movies like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and long-running TV shows like LOST IN SPACE are enjoyable overall.

Hairy Hi-Fi: John Bagnall. Summer 1991. UK: Tacky sci-fi and psych beat collide in the best ‘clouds tape yet (and they’re prolific little beavers when it comes to output.) Several spacy ‘clouds classics and some newies are fed into a continuous programme of cute galactic distortion.

Midnight in Hell #6: June 1991. UK: A collection of very lightweight songs intended as a tribute to the group’s favourite sf , TV and movies, notably Lost in Space, The Man With X-Ray Eyes and Star Trek.
While it is initially pleasant to listen to (with the occasional lyrics in a few of the songs) it is hard to determine where the group’s musical influences lie - possibly Fuzzbox and Neil Innes. The fact that the songs all sound the same becomes very irritating after a time. I listened to the tape three times in a row, and half-way through the second I found myself ignoring the music and listening to the various pieces of soundtrack sampling which appear throughout the tape.
What  Wave  #21:  Winter  1992/3. Canada: Bunch  of  demos,  outtakes  and  other unreleased stuff from this duo that includes Acid Tapes head honcho Steve Lines. Pleasant, acoustic guitar tunes that have a poppy edge to them as well as a bit of a psyche feel. For those times you want to relax while you listen to the music.

Unhinged #9: Henry Race. November 1991. UK: OK, so how many really great bands have come out of Wiltshire? XTC, Dave Dee & Co., Magic Muscle and that’s about it? Wrong. Jangle fuzz bubble poppers Stormclouds have proved over the last three years that they’ve got their own particularly unique angle on everything that ever made pop music interesting and exciting. If you want to get the real dirt on Stormclouds’ story I would advise you to consult the back issues of Unhinged and the various Italian and Swedish fanzines that have had the good sense to run articles on them. For now, I’ve got a brand new tape to listen to. Well, I say new, it’s actually a compilation of outtakes/demos/oddities from Stormclouds’ archives, so it’s perhaps unfair to listen to it in the same context as a proper release. Taken in context though as a companion to the mighty body of work on Acid Tapes, it provides a worthy insight into the peculiar world of a band whose songs are as much influenced by Rupert Bear, Rip Van Winkle, The Space Family Robinson and Mick Farren as they are by Ramones, Jesus & Mary Chain, T. Rex and The Archies - a combination that I’ll settle for any day. Almost all of the ten tracks on this tape demonstrate a frighteningly well developed pop sensibility, you know the stuff, a handful of chords, chilling harmonies and hook lines in the chorus that you’d kill to have written yourself. Perhaps my favourite on this tape is New Gods - A Dinosaur Jr. massive wall of sound gives Steve Stormcloud the chance to be Jay Mascis and play a wonderfully fuzzed solo next to a chorus that you’ll be singing all night - once you’ve heard it. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you all when you eventually get to this, but there are a couple more songs that are especially worth mentioning here. Remember - an outtake from the Raindrops tape. If the sleeve notes are to be believed the song is about Michael Stipe going to sleep alongside Rip Van Winkle for a hundred years then going back to his home town to find no one remembers him. Remember when this town was your home, Michael? Let’s Talk About Love is in fact a demo version of the song that finally appeared on the New Kind of Kick EP and comes from the area where Transvision Vamp collide with Kassenatz-Katz and is as fine an example of trash-bubblegum pop as I’ve heard all year. I could go on but all of this tape is worth your money, time, attention and energy. Buy it, listen to it, sing along to it, grow to love it, play it in the car, play it to your friends, play it to your children, give it your Mom and Dad for their Christmas present. Let’s make Stormclouds the superstars they deserve to be.
Perfect  Pop  Records:  May 1994. Sweden: Stormclouds is pure PSYCHOTRONIC delight! Steve Lines and Louise Allen take the world by storm with cheapo fuzzo, canned rhythms and otherworldy female vocals which gives a whole new dimension to the 1 - D world of TRASH. Incredibly funny and incredibly catchy.

Incredible Heaven #3. James T. Rao. April 1993. USA: Science Fiction buzzsaw pop? Real semi-retro sounding, like Lesley Gore on hallucinogenics having a jam session with Roky Erickson and thinking up a theme song for a mid 60’s Japanese horror movie. The B side is a mellow folkdrone, still futuristic.

Choice Words #31. April 1993. USA: They’re back! This 45RPM contains not only a cool new version of Lost in Space, full of fuzzy, thrashy guitar, but offers a real treat on the flip side as well. When Worlds Collide is a soothing ballad that allows Louise Allen’s thoroughly beautiful voice to shine on through.

Flickers ‘n’ Frames #18: John M. Peters. February 1993. UK: I rarely add singles to my collection nowadays but Lost in Space by Stormclouds is well worth seeking out. Stormclouds are musician/artist Steve Lines and vocalist Louise Allen and they have appeared here before with their cassette albums, but this is their first single - and it’s a goody, with lots of breezy guitar and sound bites from old TV shows. The B-side is When Worlds Collide, a much gentler affair with some really fine guitar work and vocals from the duo. This is a limited edition single packaged in a colourful wrap-around lyric sheet illustrated by Steve Lines, featuring Robby the Robot.
Perfect Pop  Records:  May  1994. Sweden: Do  androids  dream of electric sheep? Course not! They dream of the latest Stormclouds single! Don’t miss this spaceship! The best thing that has happened to planet Earth since Kenneth Arnold’s UFO-sightings in ‘47!

Ptolemaic Terrascope: Phil McMullen. Spring 1994. UK: Cosmic Casio music with all the usual off-kilter lyrics, it’s released as a taster for a forthcoming CD, which will in fact act as an epitaph for the band, albeit not the final word, since the hottest gossip in the village last Christmas had it that singer Louise Allen had taken the lyrics to He’s Trash on the EP to heart and buggered off, leaving her other half, Steve, in the lurch. Undeterred however, Steve’s found a new singer called Melanie Townsend who is by all accounts a Hot Property (as they say in the Hollywood district of Calne) and together they have leapt off in an entirely new direction, "concentrating more on the Mazzy Star/Mary Chain/Kendra Smith style of folk psych rather than sci-fi/fuzz pop" according to the man himself. And the best of luck to them too.
Crohinga Well #6. November  1993. Belgium: The history of Stormclouds  goes back about ten years already, and a lot has happened in that period of time. We’re not going into any great detail regarding their musical exploits and different releases here, because we’ll be publishing an in-depth study of Stormclouds in one of the next issues of Crohinga Well.
Stormclouds is a duo, formed by Steve Lines (yes, Crohinga Well’s own top psychedelic illustrator) who plays all instruments and his lady companion, Louise Allen, who sings all songs.
Devoted fans of Stormclouds might raise an eyebrow or two when exploring this latest release: the usual joyful and amusing SF pop is replaced here by a collection of acoustic demos, turning it into a showcase for Steve’s competent guitar playing and Louise’s full and rich voice. Tracks like Ocean Jewel, Looking Glass World and Baby Moonlight will never storm any hit parades, but will certainly be of interest to people who enjoy acts like Mazzy Star, Kendra Smith and Evergreen dazed.

Ptolemaic Terrascope Vol. 4, #2: Phil McMullen. August 1993. UK: Acid Tapes themselves incidentally have put out another Stormclouds cassette from label guru Steve Lines and his beau Louise Allen; a collection of acoustic material, songs like We Believe are achingly beautiful; starry night moonshine to woo by.
MMATTRIX  #6:  Mick  Magic.  December  1992.  UK: Oh yeah,  I love this band, amongst my absolute favourite bands ever ever ever. Real thrilled to finally get some for out M&E label. This album is a collection of live material showing two contrasting sides to the band. Half of it is sort of folky based, Steve Lines on acoustic guitar and the very talented Louise Allen singing. This girl’s voice is as close to Heaven as you can get, trust me, the richness of Sonja Kristina (Curved Air) and the versatile tones of Kate Bush, some real cool songs too. The other half is from their psychotronic material, like the B52’s, a sort of kitsche Hawkwindish thing, but quite unique. Louise even reminds me of Pam-Pam from X Ray Pop on the magic Batman song, Night of the Bat.
Paul Ricketts: Unpublished. December 1992. UK: This is a million miles away from the angst etc. of all modern rock’s singer songwriter types from James Taylor to Henry Rollins. The trick is that pop doesn’t attempt to be meaningful, it aims to be important for three minutes. If Stormclouds lack the Chinnichap sense of theatre, they have the humour and sense of fun (the droogish swaggering The Ungrateful Dead is fun(ny) rather than the too conscious humour of Rubberneck Chicken on the first tape). And long before such bands as The Pooh Sticks, Stormclouds were inhabiting their songs like cartoon characters in a cartoon world - the B-movie thrust of The Creature From Galaxy X, He’s Trash (both of which were previously issued on an Unhinged flexi disc) and The 2 Dimensional Man. At live gigs from around this time they usually looked like they’d just stepped out of a TV show such as "Scooby Doo", though if Louise looked like one of the mini-skirted heroines, Steve’s sardonic scowling, even if prompted by equipment malfunctions, made him out more like one of the villains from the show. The acoustic side is limited to Look At Her Eyes, otherwise all the songs that would be folkier, such as Down to the Sea, which surfaced on a later compilation tape in an acoustic version; To Tuesday, a mind dislocated song re-recorded from the first tape and Hideaway, the closest Mary Chain cop are all given the fuzzed up treatment, even the psyche song, It’s Raining Still, that they couldn’t get down satisfactorily for the tape of that name gets the fuzz. For all the blackness of the cover, this album is just too sneering and feisty to be depressed and down.

Evening Advertiser: September 1988. UK: Imagine the pop sensibilities of Blondie welded onto the crushing guitars of Jesus & Mary Chain. That’s Stormclouds who have just released a cassette album on their own Acid Tapes label. Raindrops is packed with fuzzy, blurred nuggets such as To Tuesday, Look At Her Eyes and The Two Dimensional Man. Stormclouds are Louise Allen (vocals) and Steve Lines (instruments). They are cheerfully hurling all sorts of items into the melting pot, from Spector to punk, the Velvets to Blondie, The Byrds to the Go Gos. The Creature From Galaxy X opens the cassette with punk propelled rhythms and sci-fi effects. He’s Trash sounds like classic Blondie reinforced with churning serrated guitars. Down to the Sea explodes in a ball of screechy feedback. Shades of the classic ‘Notorious Byrd Brothers’ album are evident on the countryfied It’s Raining Still. Play it before John Peel does.
Paul  Ricketts:  Unpublished.  December 1992. UK: This release was a cassette album called It’s Raining Still. On it they were accompanied by Rod Goodway and Christine Cotter. The tape was a bag of different styles, as if they were casting about to find what they could do. From the garage anger of Don’t Push Me Around to the folksy fluff brought on by a borrowed banjo, which thankfully was repossessed after Preacher Man and Rubberneck Chicken were taped. More promising were the psyche tracks such as Darkness Weaves and When The Dream Fades and the lonesome, eerie acoustic songs such as The Darkest Hour and Turn Away. In the end it was a collection of songs that didn’t hang together with the character of an album.

Mardenbeat #22: Henry Race. April 1987. UK: First off, it’s going to be next to impossible to cast any sort of subjective ear over this; I’ve lived with these recordings and the tales of their origins over the last three or four months. But away with fear and trepidation and press the play button firmly down.
Midnight Train is first up, with the train sounds echoing the glorious mess of locomotive noise that REM opened up their 1985 gigs with. A nice touch. It says here that Rod Goodway played all the guitars on the track. I have to say that while the insidious little rhythm riff was right up my street, the lead bits were a bit too much "Pushbike Song" for me. Lou sings this so achingly well that I felt inclined to go find the heartless ASLEF employee who was taking her chap away from her and give him a severe trouncing.
To Tuesday would suggest that at least one of Stormclouds has had more brain numbing hallucenogenics than is good for anyone. "Dreams of lizard skin" - oh yes please. Tongue lodged firmly in cheek I would have said. There’s some splendid double tracking which makes Lou sound just like Joan Baez. I liked Steve’s snaky bass on here too.
Stormclouds - the song - is next. Steve gives it big licks on his casio and he does some fine "whoompy" bass bits. Lou does sound as if she was trying a bit too hard on some bits though.
Check for Rod’s little bit right at the beginning of this next track, Preacher Man - brill! Steve can still play my banjo better than I can. The song itself is a bit of a filler but pleasant enough I guess.
When the Dream Fades is the first track that jumps out on the tape. Fine song, fine singing and a really nice echoey sound. Love it.
Darkness Weaves must have been great fun to do. Dig out the flared loons pants and kipper paisley ties chaps - this is the stuff the kids want. Backwards guitars and at least one line from a Seeds song. Fab.
Last track on the first side The Darkest Hour is a genuine five star classic. It’s criminal that we only have 2m35s of it. If the reputation of Stormclouds rests on this one song alone then they can be well pleased with themselves. I knew I could get through this song without mentioning Clay Allison. Oh shit.)
I don’t like Deadman’s Creek at all, though Robin Sayer plays some nice, edgy guitar on it.
Sunshine is full of such good natured INANE DUMB lyrics and Hank Marvin guitar that it’s impossible not to smile your way through all 2m45s of it. Bleurhg!
Don’t Push Me Around is one of those spot the influence tracks and I won’t spoil your enjoyment by telling you who it sounds like - but the Farfisa organ is spot on - baby!
Rubberneck Chicken was a made up song title originally. But dang me, up jumps Steve and before you could whistle Dixie he’s penned a song to go with it. Clever Bastard.
Turn Away owes more than a little to Dylan’s Percy’s Song but is none the worse for that. Someone’s managed to get a fine vocal sound on here too.
Mangled Mind is the old favourite from The Tryp days, but is presented here with a sugary sweet voice courtesy of Lou.
So there you have it - well worth £2.00 of anyone’s hard earned.

Mardenbeat #22: Paul Ricketts. April 1987. UK: Stormclouds are marked out by two individual traits. One is the excellence of Louise Allen’s singing, especially when double tracked singing harmony with herself, the other is the way Steve Lines’ lyrics get better and better. From songs like The Boy With the X Ray Eyes, or even It’s Raining Still where the words don’t flow or don’t make much sense he has now turned to songs that actually benefit having a lyric book.
Five or six of the songs here are out and out classics, perfect marriages of voice and song. If you can concentrate away from the singing you can hear the masses of work that’s gone into the music. This should, without a doubt, be on national release on black plastic proper. Especially the sequence of three songs which closes side one. The way When the Dream Fades, Darkness Weaves and The Darkest Hour slide into each other is so right I don’t see how it could have been any other way. 
Forced Exposure #15: Summer 1989. USA: This co-production by Unhinged fanzine and the Acid tapes concern features a guy/gal duo who didn’t impress me unduly with the cassette debut. This thing, however, has the right ingredients (Ramones/fuzz gtr. gal vox, drumbox, space effects) to make my table turn right around: which it does.

Unhinged (second issue): Paul Ricketts. July/August 1988. UK: The Stormclouds flexi - The Creature From Galaxy X and He’s Trash is the first record by this Calne group, who contrive to be almost unknown outside the ranks of readers of Bucketful of Brains and Sowing Seeds in this country and yet appear on French TV.
Stormclouds are Louise Allen on voices and Steve Lines on instruments. They have had two cassettes released on the Acid Tapes label, which, by some small coincidence is run by Steve Lines. I reviewed the first of those: It’s Raining Still in the last issue and now the second is out on the day of the copy deadline, so I can’t resist the chance to shove in a quick appraisal of it. It’s a much more consistent tape than the last, which was always threatening to be better than it ended up. Gone is the country psychedelia sound and in is a wall of fuzzed guitar sound, a continual rumble underpinning a set of pop songs that leap out and shake reviewers out of the typing position and circling the chair as they type and try to dance at the same time. I never thought I’d be admitting to dancing to a group with a drum machine. A sea of raw noise surfs into The Creature From Galaxy X, a tale of home town boys insufficiency and a life wrecked when the creature ditched her. Anyone who had the first tape will hardly recognise To Tuesday, which has been recorded speeded up with a guitar hookline that would stand out on a Windbreakers album. Yeah! We are talking POP here with EDGE. Edge you walk, edge that cuts, edging into your mind where it won’t shake loose. Just when you thought this was going to be fuzz from start ‘till end there’s Look At Her Eyes, where a descending acoustic guitar chord run that I’ve never heard before, but which is instantly familiar, the oldest way of getting people to lend their ears. He’s Trash is the Shangri Las for the 80’s. I shall be playing this as much as I play those wonderful Transvision Vamp singles. The title track of the tape, Raindrops, ends the side and is another one of these so goddam sad tracks, real life stuff it just repeats and repeats. That makes it pop, and that makes it clued in too!
For a long time in Calne, bands that Steve has been in have been playing It’s Raining Still, but there has never been a satisfactorily recorded version. It didn’t even make the first tape of which it was the title. Now its been laid to rest as good as its ever going to get and at last able to prove why people consider it a minor psychedelic classic.
It is only a matter of time before Stormclouds hook up with their audience. People who understand lines like "I can’t walk out in the light of day." in Hideaway, instead of playing to pub crowds who just want to boogie. The Two Dimensional Man could be Snatch playing with The Buzzcocks, the former’s humour and bubbling vocals, the latter’s guitar sound. I Don’t Know is even more Buzzcocks (yeah! I got the name right second time. It would have done well as the single after What Do I Get? The tape finished off with Down to the Sea: Louise sings, as an 80’s equivalent of Spike Jones and his City Clickers breaks the recording studio into millions of pieces, none of them bigger than a cassette. I never expected them to get this good so quick. The next one, they should do with a proper drummer instead of a box and it’ll be magic. Especially as now they’re hot, writing faster than they can get the songs recorded on tape.
Page 1