Crack Cloud - Red Mile (LP)

Red Mile
Due on 26/07/2024

Black vinyl
Crack Cloud have always been something beyond a rock band: both profound and grand, vaporous and elusive.

The first iteration of Crack Cloud was formed nearly a decade ago as a proxy-rehab outlet on the fringes of Calgary. Over time, two EPs and accompanying visual pieces were produced out of the residence known as Red Mile. By 2017, several members had relocated to Vancouver, working out of harm reduction centers and low-barrier shelters. Sobriety, self-reformation and the idealism of their work further formed an ethos for Crack Cloud. It was during these years that the band produced their astounding 2020 album Pain Olympics. At once, their vision became expansive, cinematic.

Now, Red Mile is a bit of a homecoming. Members have returned to Calgary. But Calgary/home has become a liminal space, a place of flux. After a decade of personal and collective growth, what does home even mean? Red Mile is, for them, something like samsara: a return and a rebirth.

Red Mile's sound breathes expansive energy into the circuitous, street bound sonics of Crack Cloud's prior material. Fizzling synths intertwine with chiming pianos. Songs layer like Russian nesting dolls; one may find a Ramones chorus set within a desolate Western prog soundtrack only to watch it erupt into a joyous anthem. Real-ass guitars - alternately lilting, scuzzy and soaring - ring out across wide sun-bleached spaces. In 2024, the cumulative effect is (in rock instrumentation terms) naturalistic. Any whiff of embalmed nostalgia is absent. Even the close of the album - a winding, alllllmost Jerry Garcia guitar noodle that leads us out of Red Mile - is delivered without sentimentality.

Principal songwriter Zach Choy's lyrics are cutting but merciful, with a sharp self awareness that never slides into self-satisfaction. Crack Cloud as artists are critical - and ultimately as forgiving - of themselves as they are the melting world around them. The songs balance an easy charm and cathartic power: affirming life without denying death.

Recorded predominantly between the outskirts of Joshua Tree California, and Calgary, Alberta, this record is informed by a bittersweet mélange of old and new. The sprawling, novelistic structures of their previous albums are condensed and sharpened, while maintaining their refusal to delve into superficiality. Through playful melodies and elliptical guitar soliloquy, they deliver a final product of exceptional depth and distinctly unprecious warmth. Crack Cloud have produced a mature, vital work that interrogates the platitudes of the rock-n-roll lifestyle, but ultimately exalts its sacredness.

"Red Mile's de facto thesis statement The Medium is itself a rock song meditation: an ode to the form and its practitioners. This genre that - typical, repeatable, corporatized as it can be - somehow still has the power to help us live through life. We see the dusty sentiment of "I love rock and roll" exhumed, taken apart, and stitched back together. It's a song guided by faith - if the medium helps us proclaim our love today, it's worth protecting from derision tomorrow. We live in an era where music seems to love hitting its head against the wall. Crack Cloud's Red Mile is the sound - the feeling! - of the bricks giving way.



1. Crack of Life
2. The Medium
3. Blue Kite
4. Lack of Lack
5. Epitaph
6. I Am (I Was)
7. Ballad of Billy
8. Lost on the Red Mile