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Masterminded in 2006 by former Cotton Mather frontman Robert Harrison, Future Clouds & Radar formulated a kind of eclectic, ecstatic indie pop sound that nodded to the psychedelic swirliness of XTC and the Beatles, the punchy soulfulness of Elvis Costello, and the good-natured brass and sparkle of the Starlight Mints. Rounded out by bassist Josh Gravelin, keyboardist Hollie Thomas, drummer Nina Singh, and vibraphonist/trumpeter Kullen Fuchs, the Austin-based group released its self-titled double-disc debut full-length in the spring of 2007. They followed it up with a more modest EP titled Peoria in the autumn of 2008.
Future Clouds and Radar is Robert Harrison’s follow-up to his band Cotton Mather. The first album, an eponymous double CD, was released in 2007. Their second release, entitled "Peoria" was released on November 4, 2008, on the Star Apple Kingdom label.
Like Cotton Mather, Future Clouds and Radar has been described as being of the powerpop genre. Austinist called Future Clouds and Radar "Beatles-esque psychedelia" while the New Yorker described it as "sprawling orchestral art rock."
Upon release of the debut CD, NPR wrote:
It's up for debate whether Austin-based Robert Harrison's double-disc debut is pure genius with blind ambition, or the product of an excess of ideas. In any case, his band Future Clouds and Radar certainly knows how to entertain. The self-titled album crosses a dozen different styles and gets handed numerous genre-definers, all of which include the word "art" as a prefix. Future Clouds and Radar would seem to be inspired by The Flaming Lips or Guided By Voices, whose prolificacy Harrison emulates."Indie Blog Heaven". "Pop Matters, "Future Clouds and Radar"". "Popfair - Classic Power Pop, "New Future Clouds and Radar"". "Austinist Show Preview & Giveaway: Future Clouds and Radar at The Parish". "We Heart Music". "SXSW 2007: Future Clouds and Radar".
Nickelodeon animator Keith Graves was chosen to create a video of the song "Dr. No." Other videos include:Holy Janet Comes on WavesBack Seat Silver Jet SighterThis Is Really A BookBuild HavanaHurricane JudyThe Epcot View "New Future Clouds and Radar video "Dr. No"". "Future Clouds & Radar at YouTube".
The first album received high praise from critics, drawing comparisons to The Flaming Lips, 13th Floor Elevators, Electric Light Orchestra, Robert Pollard, Robyn Hitchcock, John Lennon, World Party, and the Kinks. David Greenberger says "...file this next to the White Album." NPR wrote "“Audacious? Sure. But undeniably impressive." Texas public radio station KUT listed it among the best albums of the year 2007 while Pop Narcotic listed it in its top 10 of the year.
The second album, Peoria (a "kaleidoscopic vision into a single cinematic narrative about mortality") also received rave reviews:"A triumph of schizophrenic musical vision…a beautiful and brilliant mess…magnificent double disc collection of pop gems – 4 stars." (Paste Magazine)."Whether FC&R is essaying dreamy, electronicaized psychedelia, blue-eyed soul anthemry, Latin-flecked jangle-pop, or full-guns a-blazing, fuzzed-out garage, the material is executed with a jazzlike precision and suffused with a deeply emotional, spontaneous vibe. Winner 2007’s Debut Artist of the Year" (Harp Magazine). Harp placed Future Clouds and Radar as number 4 on its list of top 50 CDs of 2007 "David Greenberger's Editorial Review at Amazon". "Winter Academy, the 2007 Review Edition, "Future Clouds and Radar"". "We Heart Music, Austin's Future Clouds and Radar". "David Brown, "The Best Albums of the Year, from KUT"". "Pop Narcotic, Best Albums of 2007". "CD Central". "Vintage Guitar Magazine, "Future Clouds and Radar"". "Stereogum, "Harp Puts Okkervil River Atop Its Top 50 CDs Of 2007"".