Swagger, swing, R&B grooves, psychedelic-tinged harmonies and folk/rock-inspired storytelling are essential elements in Greg Roensch’s self-titled extended play, and though it presents us with only a four-track sample of the album What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky, it captures the LP’s finest moments inside of a sleek, well-appointed record that anyone – longtime fans and newcomers alike – can enjoy. Roensch gives up moving vocal performances alongside some of the most elegant organs, strings and basslines I’ve heard this September in the surreal “Grasshopper,” sexy “Don’t Forget to Pack Your Hand Grenade,” contemplative “Tell It Like It Is” and peaceful “Celluloid Dream,” which together comprise a record that’s pretty tough to put down no matter what your taste in music is.
“Tell It Like It Is” and “Celluloid Dream” are the most lyrically-striking compositions on this EP, while “Grasshopper” and “Don’t Forget to Pack Your Hand Grenade” are more instrumentally-driven and expressive through their harmonies, which Roensch conjures up on a whim. There’s a seamless flow to the material, which is impressive considering the stylistic diversity, but there’s never an instance where a specific hook is utilized more than once. Everything on this disc is as original and unique as they come, which just can’t be said for a lot of the records topping the charts right now.
The most experimental song structures of What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky are made available to us in Greg Roensch, with “Grasshopper” undisputedly taking the cake for being the most ambitious. The harmonies that adorn the chorus are utterly chilling, and although they’re seemingly quite simplistic on the surface, they contain a great deal of texture upon closer inspection. I love the direction he’s going in with tracks like this one and the Cat Stevens-esque “Celluloid Dream,” and hopefully they’re only a preview of what’s to come out of future studio sessions.
I’m really eager to see where the sound that Greg Roensch has fashioned for himself takes his career in the next few years, but regardless of what he decides to record from here on out, what he delivers in this extended play deserves a lot of applause. What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky is an involved, multilayered album that requires the full-attention of its listeners to appreciate its eclecticism, but if you dig what these four excerpts have to offer, I can almost guarantee that you’re going to be pleased by the marvelous LP they were originally cut from.