Released: 17th July 2020
When in ‘Ouster Stew’ video Crack Cloud dressed-up like a pack of hippies-went-guerrilla, we knew that whatever this Canadian collective will cook up for their debut album, it will be kooky. ‘Pain Olympics’ is just a special kind of competition.
They play with military march-like patters, only to reconstruct them. It’s never predictable. Over-compared to Gang of Four, Crack Cloud grew out of the post-punk box, being fed hip-hop, electronica and gritty jazz flavoured steroids. They went beyond the band and beats experience.
‘Post Truth (Birth Of A Nation)’ cues that a wicked ceremony is about to happen. Everything you’re about to experience is sacred. It’s a holy howl of the cult, not collective. ‘Bastard Basket’ gets you on board with the blasphemy via trance-inducing drums while those madmen are on the quest to fix their broken identities. ‘Somethings Gotta Give’s drilling jazz melody really gets you really going for ‘The Next Fix’, a funk-driven rap-whispered chase for kicks and urgent reminder of the consequences of the game. Still, this Olympics have winners. ‘Ouster Stew’, a despair-scented manifesto of communal living and the clash of desires, to belong or to be free, and ‘Angel Dust (Eternal Peace)’, a heavenly unwind at the alien mass.
‘Pain Olympics’ reaches further than their reputation of a mix-matched collective, born and bred on addiction, poor conditions and trauma. It proves that there’s much more to them. Crack Cloud pass through the past and shift perspective to bring their otherworldly voodoo down to earth. If anything, they’re pioneers.