Crack Cloud
30th September 2024 - 7:00 pm

The first iteration of Crack Cloud was formed nearly a decade ago as a proxy-rehab outlet on the
fringes of Calgary, where two EPs and their accompanying visual pieces were created during this
time. By 2017, several members had relocated to Vancouver. It was after the move that the band
produced their astounding 2020 album Pain Olympics, and their 2022 follow up, Tough Baby. All
at once, their vision became expansive, cinematic, and precarious.

Now, their third full-length studio album, Red Mile, acts as both a tribute and a homecoming.
Members have since left Vancouver and returned to Calgary; returned to the long stretch of land
colloquially referred to as the red mile. But what of the time away from home? After a decade of
personal and collective growth, what does home even mean? To Crack Cloud, this is the liminal
message demanding to be explored throughout Red Mile. The throughline thread of samsara –
rebirth and life’s cyclical pattern weaving together the eight tracks.

A departure from the hermetic, multi-year gestation of Pain Olympics and Tough Baby, Red
is the product of swift, group collaboration. Recorded predominantly between the outskirts
of Joshua Tree, California, and Calgary, Alberta, the resulting album is informed by a bittersweet
melange of new beginnings and familiar places.Crack Cloud have learned to concentrate their
multi-hyphenate energy, re-emerging as a lean, focused rock outfit producing their most mature
and vital work yet. The sprawling, novelistic structures of their previous records have been
harnessed and condensed, but never boiled down. The band is derisive as ever to deal in
superficiality. Through playful melodies and elliptical guitar soliloquy they deliver a record of
exceptional depth and unprecious warmth; creating a lived-in feel not dissimilar to a loved
picture frame: a captured still, carefully mended with electrical tape.
Much of the angst which lends their earlier work a caustic urgency has fallen away, replaced by
a soulful but relentless introspection. The eight songs contemplate physical and psychic
roadblocks, the experience of aging out of chaos, adjusting to strange new hopes, and making
peace with the group’s own mythology. The lyrics are cutting but merciful, with a sharp self-
awareness that never slides into self-satisfaction. Crack Cloud as artists are as 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.

Red Mile’s eight anthems expand, wind and fold in on themselves in equal measure. They
deploy gorgeous string sections, desert psych, sax blasts, group chants and punk snarls. In one
moment, “Blue Kite” might recall Richard Hell; in the very next ‘Paris 1919.’
“I Am (I Was),” is a neu canticle about learning to live with the void and finding meaning there
regardless. The song blooms again and again in your ears, shapeshifting from a driving acoustic
strum and jaunty piano into a thrilling motorik group chorus.
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 that the dusty sentiment of “I
love rock and roll” can be 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. Crack Cloud’s Red Mile is a rock record – one made by people who know exactly how
much that can mean.


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