We're still about a week out from Cloacas' weekend-long album release party, and to celebrate we thought we'd offer up an exclusive stream of ...and the skies are not cloudy all day.
The immediate assumption when one hears Cloacas’ particular blend of Americana, folk, gypsy-jazz and oddball experimentation is that we must have heard this someplace before. Indeed, all the elements are there for the perilous journey into same-old, same-old—acoustic instruments, lots of banjo, uh, vests—and yet for every straightforward time signature or familiar stylistic choice on the new album, there exists a bizarre counterbalance in the form of spooky circus music, a forlorn singing saw peering out from just behind the musical focal point or even, at times, an almost punk rock breakdown.
Think the stranger moments on an album like Squirrel Nut Zippers’ 1995 debut, The Inevitable, only with a deft enough hand and vision to steer clear of swing music corniness for sincere eccentricity; Cloacas, in fact, would probably already be huge were this 20-ish years ago. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re stuck in a time or place now irrelevant, rather that their catalog pulls from the old (and older still) and/or from the far and wide sounds of the globe to compress the nearly incompressible into something very then, but also very now. Take the Middle Eastern flair of “Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron Vernix),” a song that kicks off with a cacophonous orchestra of kazoos, or the looming darkness that sneaks up during “The Great Rhinehart Tire Fire of 1983,” which exists just shy of a Danny Elfman-esque soundtrack movement. There are those toe-tappin’ tunes with which one might whistle along as well, like “East Faught Shunt” (a banjo-driven number that wouldn’t sound out of place if performed by Kermit the motherfucking Frog) or “Just Another Day,” one of the more vocally-heavy numbers that is simultaneously jam-packed with gospel appeal and a down-south aesthetic.
Such a tremendous achievement also deserves a tremendous release window, which Cloacas has provided and then some. In addition to the exclusive week-long stream of the album on our website, the sextet has planned three days of release events to be held between Santa Fe, Taos and Madrid. As skies is the tightest they’ve ever been as a band and is far and away their most definitive and well-executed collection of songs made available in their relatively short existence, it would be highly advisable for pretty much everyone to be there. It isn’t out of the question for Cloacas to be headed into some semblance of success at this point, and it’s exciting to muse over what might happen next.