Review – Cloud Cult – Love


By Tommy Rehbein

Ok, I have a pretty funny Cloud Cult story. A long, long time ago I used to prank bands that put ads in the City Pages seeking members. One ad stated they were looking for a female bassist who also sings. I called the number and explained that I was biologically a man, but in drag, nobody could tell the difference. The guy on the other end was like, “Well… that could work…” I then said I would audition vocally on the phone and in my worst, deepest, most manly faux-drag voice, sang a few lines from some popular song at the time. “Okay, uh… Well I’ll send you a cd and you can see if you like it and maybe we can talk more…”

The man on the other side of the phone was Craig Minowa. It was a good prank but a few days later the cd showed up. When I listened to it, I felt like a jerk because it was actually good. I called back and confessed to the prank, then got them on a national show that had a decent crowd. “My name’s not really Kim. I was just kinda fucking with you, but let me make it up to you.”

It’s been a lot of fun seeing Craig and his band develop since that time. The cool thing about Cloud Cult is they are more of a movement than a band. Everything is very organic. Literally. The albums are recorded using solar power and the packaging is completely biodegradable, even using ink made from plants. Band members paint live on stage during performances.

Different members have come and gone, but CC has always been the brainchild of Craig, who at times, had little more than this vehicle to contend with the tragic loss of his young son. Sometimes the songs have been incredibly sad, while at other times, incredibly uplifting. Over the course of several albums, we literally are walking with a man in the midst of healing. I think this is a major reason why, beside a lot of talent, the band ended up catching on with a large number of people.

In albums past, Cloud Cult’s prolific output and a not-quite-yet developed filter meant around 20-or-so tracks on a record. You’d get a lot of half-cooked concepts, but the other 50% of the material was stellar. With “Love” Minowa has learned to hone it in at around a dozen tracks, which means the record flows in a more fluid manner than prior releases.

Normally, I’d roll my eyes at a record titled “Love” but Cloud Cult is a band that can pull it off.  Anyone who is already a fan of the group is familiar with their hippy-ish tendencies and heart on the sleeve worldview, even though sonically they fall more between Grandaddy and The Flaming Lips than, say, some ‘60s throwback act.

Longtime fans will be happy with this release and new converts to the Cult will find plenty of first-time melodies, lyrics, and climatic moments to keep them coming back for more.


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