Cloud Cult: Love Darryl Norrell March 15, 2013 Albums Those like myself who have managed to ignore Cloud Cult for their roughly 20 years of bandhood would do well to hear their 2005 disc, Advice From The Happy Hippopotamus, a 25-track behemoth of creativity that exemplified much of what I love about indie rock: Interesting lyrics, boundless energy, unexpected turns of structure, and crucially, a lightheartedness that made singer Craig Minowa’s lyrics land light as a feather, even at their most potent. Ninth LP Love is a different kind of grandiose, and maturing seems to have reeled in some of the band’s wilder urges. One can imagine the arena-sized production turning off old fans. Tracks like “1x1x1” and “Sleepwalker” throw thick layers of synth over four-on-the-floor for a Bravery-esque effect—it edges uncomfortably close to the sort of perfect robot-pop that made listeners flock to bands like, well, Cloud Cult in the first place. They still chug from moment-to-different-moment with a sense of structural freedom, but the years seem to have installed a metric ton of gravity—the mood is one of desperation, with strings, synth bloops, and utterly massive guitars combining to create a mega-produced, serious-feeling backdrop. But align that seriousness with Minowa’s general message (“hurry up and love before you die,” to paraphrase) and you get a work that is focused, relatable, and, although trite, forgivably so, as it hasn’t been made overwrought. I’m not always in lock-step with the record’s direness or philosophical backdrop, but it’s still fun. Their shuffle-mentality mixes it up and is a boon to the work as a whole: “Meet Me Where You’re Going” is clean-cut praise country with their inevitable indie twist, while “Complicated Creation,” my favorite on the record, almost sounds like a direct answer to Modest Mouse’s “Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes” in a couple ways—lyrically it reprimands the original for its reactionary bleakness, while the groove and rhythm of the vocal recalls the same snarky funk. Moments like this make Love a consistently engaging listen. In A Word: Urgent Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.