We don’t write record reviews often these days thanks to the current paradigm of online music journalism. Considering our hyperactivie information age zeitgeist, why do you need some blowhard like myself describing a record to you when you can just pipe in the preview on Last.fm or whatever? With that said, it takes a certain type of album to convince me that I have some serious science to impart on others, and spirit warriors Cloudland Canyon‘s latest, Fin Eaves, is just that type of work. This shit affected me.
At the risk of sounding all wanky balls by way of some hippy dippy bullshit, Fin Eaves is a profound and uplifing collection of music. Yes, uplifting. There’s an anthemic quality to this collection of precise and focused zone outs that remains rather intangible, even after sixth or so listen.
It’s safe to assume that the band is named after the gorgeous bucolic milieu of Cloudland Canyon State Park four hours east of band leader Kip Ulhorn’s hometown of Memphis, and there’s really not a finer example of truth in advertising.
How nice is that? There’s your visual element for Fin Eaves, among the fluffy vivid imagery I’ll attempt to unfurl.
Walking on the moon does nothing for me. I want to know how mankind was able to lay to tape music so dense it could crush lead and plug the Deepwater Horizon well for five eternities, yet fly high in the sky by way of sacred magick and bending physics. Fin Eaves is a 38 minute space vacation, propelled by stratospheric towers of swirling samples spiral upward over a foundation of motor skill tambourine rhythms and spiritually-affecting Geogrian-esque chants. Calling it ‘ambient’ would be a great injustice, as Fin Eaves is unequivocally accessible – Cloudland Canyon is informed by the celestial awareness of Tim Hecker as much as they are structured heroes in the trenches like Flying Saucer Attack, Deerhunter, and Future Days-era Can.
Whereas their last effort, Lie In Light, relied on krautrock inspiration – syncopated rhythms, nuanced harmonies, repetition, and noise, Fin Eaves is Cloudland Canyon transmitting your ears serious aural vitamin D – sunny, gorgeous, bombastic melodies coupled with balmy, foggy, deep reverb. Lie In Light was large and cavernous, Fin Eaves is engrossing and propulsive. The visceral, deceiving catchiness of oceanic dream pop movements like “No One Else Around” and “Yellow Echoesz” is subtle, understated, and richly melodic. The epic and skewed psych gospel of “Sister” provides the sinister and spooky reprieve from the sunny flight above the surface at 80,000 feet. At any given time, Kip and company blast what seems to be incalculable layers of masterfully scultped Technicolor soundscapes your way, succinctly executed into turbulent waves of psychedelia that you could train for a marathon with (if you were so inclined). Beyond the innovative sound, and perhaps more importnatly, Fin Eaves is a highly emotional record, and if you take the time to traverse Fin Eaves’ sonically complicated labyrinth of dreamscapes, you’ll find that a meaningful and meditative experience awaits to wash over you.
Fin Eaves is a triumph. Don’t sleep on it. Out September 7th from Holy Mountain.
Fagen-Becker Quality Rating