Left Banke, Zombies, Beach Boys, Beatles, Teenage Fanclub, Cheap Trick, Oasis are good reference points for this album, the first from Cloud Eleven. Released on the legendary L.A. indie label Del-Fi Records in 1999, it made many top ten lists that year. If you like psych-pop with a sixties flare, you'll love this one. Read the review below by Brownsville Station's late great leader Cub Koda.
AMG REVIEW: Rising from the ashes of the L.A. retro-pop group Jiffipop, Cloud Eleven is the meisterwork of Rick Gallego, who wrote all but one of the tunes on here and plays almost all the instruments. There's a 60s retro vibe, all swirly and psychedelic, with a strong pop base to everything on here, recalling Sgt. Pepper era pop pastiches. Highlights are numerous, but "Spiral (Come Way Down)," "Tokyo Aquarium," "Take Control," "Rainbow Station" stand out as lush, vibrant tunes with production values equally as forceful. Most clever songwriting award goes to "Look Of Sky," a pastiche of Left Banke lyrics and titles inspired by that group's leader Michael Brown. Light, trippy power pop that really hits the spot, this is one charmer of an album. - Cub Koda
Here are a few more reviews:
"'Tokyo Aquarium' has just the right mix of sweetness & grit to rank amongst the classics of power pop. Like a mix of The Raspberries & Guided By Voices (must be something in the Ohio water), Cloud Eleven has their own special twist."
Eric J. Lawrence, "Dragnet" Show, Monday Nites, KCRW - Santa Monica, CA
"It's tempting, in the face of such perfectly-executed retro magic as this, to make up a story about discovering a long-lost masterpiece from the late Sixties: 'A secret collaboration between the Beach Boys, Beatles and Rolling Stones, the Cloud Eleven sessions were tied-up in record company legal battles for years.' But instead of Brian Wilson, John Lennon and Brian Jones, we have a new sonic master by the name of Rick Gallego, who wrote all but one tune and played everything except drums and strings. It's an echo-effect, soft-fuzz and sitar-flavored affair, full of double-tracked vocals that are always just on the verge of becoming too pretty to still be rock. Like the very best LSD [??], Cloud Eleven takes you Out There with a smile."
Scott Laurence, Immedia Wire Service, July 12th -- syndicated in 100+ newspapers in North America
"Making beautiful kaleidoscopic Pop with strong 60s influences is the route undertaken by Rick Gallego, musician and songwriter, of this mainly solo venture. Gentle harmony vocals and suitably whimsical arrangements that recall '67 Beatles, Beach Boys, Bee Gees and Left Banke are combined with a Paisley Pop production reminiscent of The Rain Parade full of shimmering tremolo layered guitar crescendos and circular bass lines.... Cloud Eleven pull all the right strings of carrying infectious sweet Pop music into the years to come."
Mojo Mills, Shindig Magazine
"From what I've heard so far, this album is a winner and I predict will be revered as a power pop classic in years to come..."
"Rick's stuff is unreal.... I am just amazed at how good it sounds! Like hit singles!"
Cloud Eleven's "inspired, passionate, and soulful pop will make you remember why you love music so much in the first place."
Ben Szporluk, Vendetta, June 1999
"Shimmering pop that will put sunshine in your heart."
Dan Epstein, L.A. Weekly
"Del-Fi 2000 introduces a power pop group that will make even the most diehard of Beatle fans clamor for more... This CD is loaded with potential hit singles. It's that good. It was quite refreshing and a delight to listen to something so pure and full of good basic Rock/Pop complete with all the hooks.... A perfect time to release an album like this is the Summer. It has that summertime dreamy feel to it. No doubt there is that 60's sound adapted in their music.... An outstanding debut that is well worth your time."
Keith Hannaleck, Muzikman.com
"CLOUD ELEVEN truly is packed to the sonic gills with all manner of extremely-thought-out, yet still somehow crazed 'n' whacked wizardry the likes of which haven't been heard on a consistent basis since, oh, roughly THE WHO SELL OUT....Kicking off with a drop-down 20/20-meets-Cheap Trick wallop ("Tokyo Aquarium") and running gamuts from the big-stereo guitar-play of Badfinger ("Superfine") through utterly adventurous, McCartney-worthy octave hopping ("Take Control"), CLOUD ELEVEN is one of the few discs to cross my lap in the past twenty or so years which may actually suffer from a TOO over-abundance of unabashed, unapologetic ear-candy. But hell, this kind of "problem" should only occur more often in these most melodically challenged of times, no?
Gary Pig Gold
"Cloud Eleven, the first new band on the Del-Fi 2000, the label that pioneered the summer and surf in the 60s, is making as good an argument for cruising tunes as you're likely to hear this summer...Songs like "Rainbow Station" and "Tokyo Aquarium" are filled with retro hooks that would make Lenny Kravitz blush... Cloud Eleven [has] a weakness for fuzzy pop, Beach Boys harmonies...Pick your 60s pop cliche -- jangling rhythm guitars, lush ooh and aah harmonies, tambourine chorus, and even guitar/sitar. It's all here.... "Hurry Home" and "Superfine" manage to make a fresh shake with milk that has been spoiled for years. So drink up.... Gallego seems to live and breathe in 60s pop. And if he seems to be in costume for Cloud Eleven, at least you'll never find the seam."
Nick Zaino, Online Buffalo