Cloud Cult : Light Chasers

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Have you been looking to get away? Veteran indie rockers Cloud Cult have clearly heard your plight, but be warned: At times, Light Chasers is a rather turbulent ride.

From the get-go, Craig Minowa and crew have good intentions. Orchestral opener “Unexplainable Stories,” with its classic violin and Minowa’s contemporary, yearning vocals, sets a soundtrack-worthy, radio-ready stage. The long-winded, declarative second track, “Today We Give Ourselves to the Fire,” attempts a similar feat, but teeters between “Bohemian Rhapsody”-lite and reruns of classic rock.

This penchant for pattern can’t be ignored. The disc’s four interludes – “The Birth (Journey to the Light Pt. 2),” “The Interference (Journey to the Light Pt. 3),” “The Guessing Game (Journey to the Light Pt. 4),” and “The Contact (Journey to the Light Pt. 5)” – read like titles out of an epic sci-fi film, but do little to advance the band sonically. The playful “Room Full of People in Your Head” and auto-tuned “The Exploding People” only prolong this try-too-hard cycle.

But wanderlust-ers, fret not. The aptly-titled “You’ll Be Bright (Invocation Pt. 1)” brings respite with band’s back-and-forth vocal teamwork: “Travel safely,” cautions Minowa. “They’re calling your name,” responds a distant, almost-divine female voice. That teamwork continues on potential Star Wars soundtrack leftover, “Forces of the Unseen.” The track, unlike its title, is surprisingly low-key (for Cloud Cult, at least); pulsing drums providing the perfect background for the band’s hermeneutic harmonies.    

“Running with the Wolves” rounds out the Light Chasers‘ “best of,” driving guitars and drums mixing with Minowa’s vocals to create that long-awaited, nearly-perfect slice of atmospheric rock. That alone makes this getaway worthwhile.        

Light Chasers is out now on Earthology Records.

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