Scattered Clouds Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa ON, February 2

Scattered Clouds Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa ON, February 2
Photo: Kamara Morozuk
One of the most interesting characteristics of the Megaphono festival, and Ottawa's music scene in general, is its relationship to the scene across the river in Hull, Quebec. Though Megaphono is based in Ottawa, they include many bands from Hull in their lineups and showcases — in part because of their geographical closeness, but also because the music coming out of Hull is such a stark contrast to anything else happening in Ottawa proper.
Take Scattered Clouds, for instance, who performed on the Thursday (February 2) night of the festival. They're a gothy four-piece from Hull that, in its current incarnation, features two drummers that sit at the back of the stage with their kits facing one another. The effect is immediate, but not overpowering, giving guitarist Philippe Charbonneau's vocals plenty of room. They need all the room that they can get, too, as Charbonneau's vocal style sounds at times like a young John Cale, cutting sharply.
What the dual drum assault provides outside of novelty is flexibility, as the drummers moved effortlessly from dubby Bauhaus to the big beat of Billy Squier, giving the band's dark, atmospheric rock some shape and edge. An often-overlooked aspect of early goth rock is the percussive influence of dub and reggae, so it was nice to see Scattered Clouds embellishing those characteristics on their own to use them to their full advantage.