Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cloud Cult: “Love” (2013) CD Review

Cloud Cult had its late-night television debut on Last Call With Carson Daly. A friend and I were at that taping, and that was my introduction to this wonderful band. Since then, I’ve immersed myself in several of Cloud Cult’s recordings. And yes, this is the kind of music you want to immerse yourself in, sink into, and explore. This band has its own particular sound, creates its own universe. The sound can be dense and intricate, gorgeous and moving, but always, always interesting.

They’ve become known for their live shows, where they have artists paint to the music. And no, they’re certainly not the first band to do this. But theirs is the kind of music that lends itself to this sort of exploration and interpretation in other art forms. The paintings are then auctioned off, so fans can take home a singular souvenir of the concert.

Cloud Cult is also known for its environmentally friendly CD packaging. The case for Love is made of 100% post-consumer recycled paperboard, and the plastic CD tray is made from recycled plastic with at least 35% post-consumer materials.

All of that is wonderful. But of course what is most important is the music. Love features some excellent material, my favorites being "You're The Only Thing In Your Way," "Good Friend" and "Meet Me Where You're Going." All of the songs on this album were written by Craig Minowa.

“You’re The Only Thing In Your Way”

Love opens with a beautiful, sad tune titled “You’re The Only Thing In Your Way.” This is a seriously strong track, and is one of my favorites. It begins like a folk tune, with acoustic guitar and vocals, his voice right in your ear as he sings “Drive, baby, drive, until your trouble’s gone/Run, baby, run, until it all goes numb.”  This one really hits me, in part because of the lines, “Nothing here can get in your way/You’ve come too far to care what they say/Now you’re the only thing in your way.” But of course sometimes that’s the toughest, most formidable obstacle. I absolutely love this song.

“It’s Your Decision”

“It’s Your Decision” begins with strings, sounding gorgeous. This song starts slowly, with the lines “Will you sink today/Or let it float away/It’s your decision.” Then there are wonderful touches on piano as the song builds with the drums – until it bursts to another plateau. It has a great, powerful build. Turn this one up, let it sweep you up in its arms and carry you. “I’ve got work to do/Disarming land mines/If I hold it in, I’ll just blow up again/My trigger finger’s twitching.”

“Love And The First Law Of Thermodynamics”

“Love And The First Law Of Thermodynamics” is a really interesting instrumental track that takes you on a journey. Close your eyes, and see what imagery it evokes for you.

“Good Friend”

“Good Friend” is probably my favorite song on this album. I seriously dig the drums on this track. They kick off the song with a great, powerful groove. The lyrics are good as well: “We are not broken ones/Just shattered pieces of the same bright sun/Trying to figure out which way to run/And we can’t do this alone/All I need is a good, good friend/To get me through this.” And this song itself has a friendly feel to it. It is a song to make you feel closer to the rest of humanity, a sort of reminder that our basic needs are the same. It’s a song to remove all the layers of nonsense we coat ourselves with.

“Meet Me Where You’re Going”

“Meet Me Where You’re Going” is another of my favorites. It has a friendly folk feel, with positive lyrics like, “Every day with you I say I do/And it means so much more each time.” This is a song to raise one’s spirits and bring people together. It’s a sweet love song, with a pretty a cappella section where the voices blend well together.


“Sleepwalker” features some cool percussion to kick it off. The song is a call to those who sleepwalk through their lives to wake up before it’s too late. Craig Minowa asks, “Where is your passion? Where is your wonder? Where is your thankfulness?” The song soon explodes with a heavy energy, and even has some techno elements. It then becomes quiet, intimate again – “Where is your joyfulness? Where is your empathy?” It’s a fantastic song.

“The Show Starts Now”

Love concludes with “The Show Starts Now,” which features the line “I want to be the guy who lives in the moment, not so lost in my mind.” That’s a line I can relate to. It turns out not to be all that easy, at least as I’ve found it. “The Show Starts Now” also has some wonderfully aggressive drumming.

CD Track List
  1. You’re The Only Thing In Your Way
  2. It’s Your Decision
  3. Complicated Creation
  4. 1x1x1
  5. All The Things We Couldn’t See
  6. The Calling
  7. LoveAnd The First Law Of Thermodynamics
  8. Good Friend
  9. Meet Me Where You’re Going
  10. Sleepwalker
  11. It Takes A Lot
  12. Catharsis
  13. The Show Starts Now 
Love is scheduled to be released on March 5, 2013 through Earthology Records, the band’s own label.

1 comment:

  1. Just bought the CD! Feel Good Ghost is still my favorite album, but this one is a close second.