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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
The Meaning of 8
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$11.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on January 1, 2008
This is truly an album experience, not just a bunch of songs. Each song has pieces of other songs, whether it be a few measures of bells or a familiar stanza of melody. Though each song is also unique enough to skip around to favorite songs on a short drive, the best listen is all the way through the album.

References to Flaming Lips and Neutral Milk Hotel are justified. The level of cohesion between songs and instrumental diversity is comparable to NMH's "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea," while the relentlessly catchy (and high pitched) vocal melodies remind me of later Flaming Lips. Despite the references, Cloud Cult is not at all derivative and it's difficult to name a "sounds like" band.

Any album that appeals to both me and my girlfriend is easy to recommend because she has very different tastes than I do. An excellent album from start to finish. It is refreshing to find such a high level of production from an indie label.
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on July 19, 2015
Cloud Cult has become my favorite!
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on May 20, 2009
Singer sounds like the singer of Flaming Lips. Music is not as noise orianted as the FL. Songs are beat driven, many with an excellent build up.
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on February 26, 2013
I've been listening to Cloud Cult for many years, and had the opportunity to see them in concert on numerous occasions, and they continue to be one of my favorite bands. Check them out!
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on March 17, 2007
One of the most interesting musical finds I have had in quite some time; this is not your typical indie band...not by a long shot. Cloud Cult and the band's self-created record label, Earthology Records have shunned major label attention and continue to work from their geothermal energy powered organic farm as a not-for-profit music centered environmental and philosophical movement. Not exactly the normal indie band bio.

One reason Cloud Cult has remained independent is the band's dedication to being eco-friendly. Concert tours are made "green" by countering CO2 emissions from travel with acres of tree planting, purchasing wind power credits to power the stages and equipping the tour van with solar panels.

In the early 90s founder and front man Craig Minowa was pursuing his degree in Environmental Science and doing every sort of odd job (Including dressing up as Barney the dinosaur for children's parties) to stay afloat while pursuing the music dream. His first release was under the name The Shade Project in 1995. Such was the budget that Minowa used pots, buckets, couch cushions and whatever else he could find to make sounds for instruments he couldn't afford.

In 2000 Minowa released Who Killed Puck as the Cloud Cult. But without any funds to market the album his financial situation became worse. His son, Kaidin, was born shortly after, marking Cloud Cult's transition away from live performances and into strictly a studio band. Minowa spent most of the next two years focused on his family and environmental work. In 2002 his son unexpectedly died and his marriage crumbled in the wake of that grief. At that point Minowa threw himself completely into music as a way to deal with the tragedy. Five years later the Cloud Cult is a fully formed touring multimedia experience with six albums to their credit. Side note, Minowa also reconciled with his wife and she tours as a visual artist with the band.

No doubt the Cloud Cult has an interesting and unique story which brings us to their newest album The Meaning of 8. Imagine what would happen if The Flaming Lips and The Decemberists decided to join forces, maybe throw in Neutral Milk Hotel and Beck as well. Stylistically the band reminds me of The Cure. Vocally Minowa has a lot in common with Robert Smith and many of the darker guitar sounds take me back to those gothic Cure discs.

Beautiful strings abide in odd harmony with crunchy guitar and electronica. Hip hop and dance beats flow into acoustic guitar. Somewhat off-kilter melody dissolves into bell parts. It is dense and intense, constantly changing and totally engaging. There is no one style here; it truly is a bit of everything. But instead of being distracting it somehow works together very well. Not many artists could pull this off.

According to the band, the lyrics on The Meaning of 8 compare religions and philosophies from around the world with Carl Jung's theories of universal symbolism and the collective unconscious. That statement sounds incredibly heavy handed, but in reality the mood of the disc, while always intense, is not preachy or over the top. It never seems oppressive.

For example the song Take Your Medicine offers up; "You can take it in stride, or you can take it right between the eyes / Suck up, suck up and take your medicine / It's a good day, it's a good day to face the hard things." The song has it all; a great hook, relentlessly catchy music and interesting harmony with a killer middle eight full of bells and chimes.

I would be remiss if I didn't also mention Cloud Cult's 2005 release Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus. It is every bit the equal of the new release with a slightly more dance beat, hip hop fuzz sound. I can't really say which disc is better; they both are really very good. My advice is to buy them both, you won't be disappointed.
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VINE VOICEon May 30, 2008
Cloud Cult is a band I just happened to stumble across a few months ago. "The Meaning of 8" has quickly become one of my top 5 from the last 5 years. This album was my introduction to Cloud Cult. Amazingly, this 19 song masterpiece comes as their 5th of 6 albums in the short span of 7 years.

The opening track `Chain Reaction' makes me want to just close my eyes and float away into the abyss in which the air is the ethereal soundwaves they generate. But just as I'm about to drift into space, a voice calls me back with some soft violins "Put out fear and they'll feel fear, it's a chain reaction. Put out love and they'll feel love, it's a chain reaction". The beautiful poetry presented here by Craig Minowa's unique voice reminds me of when I first heard the Postal Service and how I felt. If you like to lose yourself in music, this album is definitely for you.

Noteworthy tracks are the stellar `Chain Reaction' and `Please Remain Calm'. They bring it all together on these tracks, feeling, poetry, rhythm and good vibes. `A Good God' is a grinding rocker that while offbeat and scattered, has a great flow to it. Also, 2X2X2 (the title track) rises and falls with precision, and just when you think it's done, they lead you back down the rabbit hole with NIN like guitars and sprinkling xylophone droplets. "This is the meaning of the number 8" 2X2X2 - get it??

It's rare that an album can make you feel something deep. The lyrics, production, and epic stature of their music would have you think there's 6 musicians in this band, not 4. They have 6 members, but two are painters who sell their works for charity after each show. How cool is that?! The only negative thing I can say is that with 19 tracks, there are bound to be (and are) a few that they could have left out, there's a couple of interludes and songs like `Alien Christ' which are "just ok". As a side note, the band members are about as eco-conscious as they get. Allmusic (who chose this album as their "album pick") has a great bit of background on their biodiesel van, green ways, and charitable contributions.

My glowing review ends with a 4.5 star rating!

-thanks for reading!-
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on November 8, 2008
For years I've been trying to expand my horizons, a refugee from the long stagnant jungle and lounge genres who had almost given up on finding anything to satisfy my desire for movement of body and soul. Winding along a path of pleasure, I came to A Silver Mt. Zion and took a free spin with the emotional grip of Sigur Ros, moving forward I've grown with each step but months ago I hit a brick wall.

Today, while obsessively trying to locate a song that my memory fails to recall in any detail, I happened upon mention of Cloud Cult performances in Seattle. Compelled by the itch needing a good scratch, I ignored it and continued the search. As the frustration continued, I changed the query syntax and terms over and over, Cloud Cult continued to show up and a nagging curiosity eventually won me over. I'm delighted with the result.

In a musical era where pop has somehow become an even more simplified formula, Cloud Cult stands out with a rare few who have emerged in the dawn of this century with richly layered compositions played so skillfully as to wrap around the lyrical performance to form a seamlessly integrated five course audio treat. Written with passion, the lyrical themes are reflections of history and issues yet covered in a timeless fashion.

I am no expert in music theory, but I know what I like and make an effort to hear what's out there. I've bought three albums today, all Cloud Theory, and it is to their credit that I'm blown away by every track.
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on February 19, 2013
Cloud Cult is the most under-appreciated band I know of. Their music is creative and rich, and their lyrics profoundly insightful and uplifting. My life has been changed by soaking in their music. Other than Feel Good Ghosts, this is my favorite album of theirs.
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on January 22, 2010
A magnum opus.
A film analogy would be Good Will Hunting.
They will never achieve that greatness ever again.
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