The Minnesota band Cloud Cult released its new album Love earlier this week, capturing both new listeners and loyal fans with its inspiring and uplifting take on today’s indie rock sound. Today many songwriters and artists are focusing on more mellow beats, showcasing slow guitar intros and whispery harmonic solos. Love incorporates those features while still staying true to the band’s unique variation of sounds and trippy accompaniment.
Lead singer Craig and Connie Minowa express the happiness they have felt since the birth of their new baby. The Minowas lost a two-year-old son, Kaidin, in 2002, and a majority of their past albums express the grief the couple has felt for their son’s death. However, whether it is because of time passing or the new addition to their family, Love has a sense of hope, celebration and acceptance for life and is a fresh change from the typical Cloud Cult abstract-darkness.
Love includes more acoustic guitar than previous albums that typically featured auto-tuned techno guitars to create a space-age atmosphere. In addition to the acoustic guitar, the album also incorporates violin, piano and cello. The album starts off with the beautifully inspiring song “You’re the Only Thing in Your Way,” a fresh-faced pick-me-up that begins the album with hope and grace. The song is a monologue rooting for a friend, with lyrics like “Breathe, baby, breath, until all is calm” and “Love, baby, love,” reminding listeners of what’s important in life.
The album has a wonderful flow, beginning with light sounds, but moves into songs such as “It’s Your Decision” and “Complicated Creation” that feature harder guitar and piano rock solos. The song “1x1x1” sounds more like the band’s previous albums with a techno-angst style, intriguing percussion and awesome explosions of sound. A transition occurs in the middle of the album, going from the eerie “The Calling” to the instrumental “Love and the First Law of Thermodynamics,” which features wind-like sounds and light piano to musically describe the sweetness of love. From this point the songs become increasingly more hopeful and optimistic, including the clapping and laughing song “Good Friend” and “Meet Me Where You’re Going.”
The end of the album symbolizes the band’s acceptance of the loss of the Minowas’ son and the optimism they have moving forward. The second to last song “Catharsis” begins with a little boy speaking and saying “Ladies and gentleman, I love you, I love you,” and then moves to fast-paced guitar. The song encompasses the denotative meaning of catharsis: the process of releasing and providing relief of strong or repressed emotions. It celebrates the life of their son beautifully and flows perfectly into the last song “The Show Starts Now,” that features children singing and promoting the optimism that the band has for the future.
Love is a fitting title for a wonderful collection of songs filled with inspiring instrumentals, positively encouraging lyrics and a perfect representation of what “love” is all about.
4.5 out of 5 stars