Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Cloud Catcher - Enlightened Beyond Existence

Gotta be honest here.  I'm not quite impartial to this album.  A long time ago, Rory Rummings, the lead cloud catcher, sent me some rough demos asking if Ripple Music would be interested in the album. As time went by, Rory and I talked often about the album, the songs, running order, etc as the band matured, songs matured, and recordings finalized.  Eventually, Rory and the boys decided to self-release the vinyl which I am pretty darn excited to have spinning on my turntable right now.

So I know these songs.  Intimately.  In some ways, I may have heard them more times than most outside the band.  So, I'm not impartial or naive to the brand of freaked-out heavy psych that Cloud Catcher plows on their debut.  But what I can conclusively say is that after repeated listens, this album just keeps getting better and better.

Cloud Catcher is a three-piece centered around the frenzied guitar fireworks of Rory and his vocals.  Kam Wentworth and Jared Soloman Handman are deft at creating space and holding the framework for Rory's explorations.  Think the Jimi Hendrix Experience in structure, or a more freaked out Mahogany Rush and you'll get the feeling.

And that's what's in store here, two sides of a wax pizza of mind-bending, cosmos searching guitar adventures and wicked, wicked heavy rocking.   "Sky Cutter" is a fierce rocker, which kicks off at 100 mph like some frenzied out take from the lost classic album by the Gurvitz brothers, Gun.  In facts, Rory's amazing guitar work reminds me of Adrian Gurvitz as he powers through "Race with the Devil."  Guitar strings bend and sizzle through this monster, leading straight into "Far Out Man," which has always been one of my favorites from these guys.  After a spaced out intro, the song erupts into an inferno of molten rock, anchored to earth by the killer choral refrain.  From that point, the rest of side drifts into the territory you'd expect from a band named Cloud Catcher -- sky high (and I mean high) sonic journeys through floating beauty mixed with thunderclouds of sonic heaviness.  "Electric Ritual" is a masterwork of classic old school rockery filtered through the sonic  imagination of modern heavy psych underground.  Simply jaw-dropping, riff-mastering.  Through it all, Rory's guitar work is mind-blowing.  Truly one of the new guitar heroes of the heavy psych/stoner scene.

And judging from the comments on the band's bandcamp page, my ears aren't jaded by familiarity.  Fans are clamoring to jump onboard the Cloud Catcher express.  If you dig classic rock in the post-Hendrix vein, mixed with modern stoner, glimpses of doom, and healthy tastes of THC, then I recommend you jump onboard too.


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