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Read Text Only: Pride Issue
White Cloud


It’s one thing for an individual (douche) to attempt to describe how they understand and experience an artist’s work (bull honky). The process of critiquing that work becomes problematic when the critic is misunderstood as being objective and speakin’ the fuckin’ Truth brotha! Their misinterpreted singular experience becomes the agreed-upon end-all be-all perspective, or at least easily referential for the vapid plague of imitating internet abusers. The critic’s misuse of labels (a process gone horribly awry—one which I’ll later refer to as genrefication) is the most criminal tool available to the incognizant. With that in mind, I present to you: White Cloud.
White Cloud is first and foremost a band. They are not a concept, a joke, or an object. They are four musicians who play together. They understand and appreciate the history of their musical forefathers, yet they experience no anxiety of influence. White Cloud is an evolution, a development of a sound. Not a sound trying to fit into a previous mold effected or shaped by anything else. Their success will suffer only at the hands of those who attempt to pigeonhole them in a genre-trend or make them the product of an influence (which is precisely why they are not an object or a thing to be manipulated by anyone besides themselves).
The best way I can describe White Cloud is to break them down independently. The members of the band are individually talented multi-instrumentalists from different backgrounds, both of music and, as they’ve described themselves: “Shiv’s from Kenya, Nick’s from Argentina, Catrick is Patrick, and James is from…Oakland.”
The combination of Nick’s pop sensibility, Shiv’s technical playing with his roots in metal, Patrick’s raw power derived from garage rock and proto-punk, and James’ stylish “motorik” on drums recalls bands like Neu! and Can. But somewhere in the middle they all meet with a unified interest in psychedelic music. Their use of new, affordable technology (various pedals, a synth organ, and a sampler) is progressive without being alienating. They often switch roles; trading instruments and creating entropy that, when seen live, makes up for a lack of witty banter and alters the ambience depending on who’s holding the bass or who’s playing lead, or if anyone is even on the organ. The mood shifts from deeply self-reflective to visceral and frenetic. Despite the transience, Nick stays firmly planted as the group’s lead singer, alternatingly shouting and yawning melodically through a mess of reverb.
The music itself is harmonious and loud to the point of verging on dissonant. The songs’ compositions range from short, fast, and suspiciously simple, to long, jammy, and inconspicuously complicated. All the while maintaining a distinct vibe that is both catchy and engaging. White Cloud appeals to the passively interested, to the experienced, and to the overly critical. Their prolificacy is to be admired. They constantly write new songs and re-write old ones in refreshing ways. They’re a completist’s masochistic wet dream. They have all the makings of a band that could receive great acclaim, should those who unknowingly oppose their growth not create an impasse.
Bands are often victims of genrefication, Others (bloggers, “critics,” and mother fuckers (label/store owners) just tryin’ to make a buck who aren’t directly engaged with the music) tell them what they are. They’re like crunching lo-fi sung from a cave hyper chillwave floating in the blackness of space punk high on meth. Genrefication results in making bands the victims of trends. As certain styles gain popularity, bands are squeezed onto the bandwagon along with the squares hopin’ to hitch a ride. When those trends begin to fade, so to do the bands associated with them, unfortunately for the bands that got duped who will have to wait for the trend to rise again, be rediscovered, and play stagnant reunion shows.

So let’s not hype it up, let’s not use too many wishy-washy adjectives to describe a sound. Let’s not search conspiratorially for the next big thing before it’s cool. Let’s not define the band, but let the band define themselves and work out who or what they want to be. We need to just enjoy the music for the music itself, not the object it becomes.