On a purely superficial level, I expected Lie in Light to be a party album. I say this because the cover art for Cloudland Canyon's latest full-length is a three-panel fold-out lined with pictures of the band, various friends, and other sorts of things that one would associate with having a good time--you know, not unlike the covers of a lot of 1970s coke-fueled self-indulgent records by people too talented to release such crap. (God bless your rum-soaked soul, Harry Nilsson.) Opening track "Krautwerk" does a rather convincing job of hinting at some sort of behind-the-scenes Bacchanals; the bass-line is pulsing and very sensual; the mantra of "Lie in light" heightens the tense, sexy atmosphere, and the song simply pulsates on for almost seven minutes. And yes, I most certainly would play a song like that if I wanted to get a booze-up, erm, "groovin'."
For those who appreciate Cloudland Canyon on a level not conducive to "fun," let not these things dishearten you, for soon do they return to the beautiful drone and ambient noise that makes them such a pleasure to behold. "White Woman" brings in the noise and weird-ass vocals amidst swirly sheets of noise--if they're going for a vibe of standing on Mt. Everest and singing down sweet folk songs into the valley of the shadow of death, then hey, mission accomplished! In short, it's all a bit trippy. Psychedelic? Yeah, that too, but it's a particularly delicious trip; hypnotic at times, restful at other times, and downright, well, mind-bending most of the rest of the other times if i can rightfully remember those times. Prog rock or kraut rock? You can call it that, if you're an idiot who has to classify music in such meaningless, amorphous categories with no real bearing on the actual music. And, good grief, please please please, if you use the words "Animal Collective" to describe this music, please go buy a clue, will you?
I do, though, think the band had a fun time making their record. Within the dark and twisting grooves, though, there's a pulsing heartbeat of joy. I can't explain why, but this record makes me smile and it makes me feel happy and warm and elated. Perhaps it's the cough syrup in me, but the way this record makes me feel is rather alien; as I write this, I am listening to the record. I sit back in my chair, close my eyes, and feel content, and I don't really think I want to try to understand why I feel that feeling, other than to say it exists, it's real, and it makes me smile.
Listen To: You & I
Lie in Light is available now on Kranky
Labels: Cloudland Canyon, Kranky Records, reviews c