“Environmentally friendly” might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an alternative rock band. However, that is the main driving force behind Cloud Cult, an extraordinary eight-member experimental “chamber rock” group. For one, they create breathtaking music — combining the delicate sounds of string and horn and overlaying it all with philosophical lyrics. Think Conor Oberst-esque tunes with more intricate orchestrations and less depressing lyrics. Second, as I mentioned previously, they’re musical environmentalists. Since the late ’90s, the band has been releasing eco-friendly music under their self-founded green record label, Earthology Records. Third, they incorporate live painters into their concerts who create original artworks onstage as the musicians perform. The paintings are then auctioned off throughout the performance.
Love is the group’s ninth album release. Fronted by Craig Minowa, Cloud Cult musically documents the lead singer-songwriter’s story, which is tragically rooted in the death of his 2-year-old son. This record in particular explores the overarching themes of love, loss and spiritual unity — concepts that are intricate yet simple and universal in nature.
“You’re The Only Thing In Your Way” opens up the album with lush instrumentals and soft vocals. The chorus of the song, “You are the wind, the flood and the flame / Nothing here can get in your way” serves as a foreshadowing of the lyrical cadence of the tracks to come. The rest of the record shifts in terms of sound, ranging from 2000’s angsty rock to acoustic indie. However, it relays the aforementioned universal concepts in the lyrics.
By combining visual art and green activism in their musical pursuit, Cloud Cult displays a rare inspirational quality in their seeking of a higher meaning that differs greatly from much of the music relevant today. Cloud Cult is far more than your everyday indie rock band — they’re musical revolutionaries.
Contact Michelle Lin at [email protected].