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A Magazine for Sheffield
Live / stage review

Break free from echo chamber: Crack Cloud at Yellow Arch

Collective catharsis from Canada’s finest.

16 May 2022 at
Crack cloud
Jon Downing.

To call Crack Cloud a force of nature would be doing them a disservice. Put simply, the Vancouver collective are an unstoppable colossus of a band. Part well-oiled machine, part multi-headed beast, they are purveyors of exquisite art punk that acts as rehabilitation for both its members and their audience. They are quite unlike anything around at the moment.

Arriving to a discordant guitar squeal, the six members squeeze onto the stage at a packed-out Yellow Arch and don’t waste any time locking into the spiky, primal rhythms of ‘Crackin Up’. ‘Post Truth’ sees the first of many gang vocal chants as they offer out their call to arms: “We need a vigilante / Who can wear both shoes / Break free from echo chamber / We are all post-truth”.

The intricacy and tightness of the band’s playing is astonishing. It’s not always easy to keep track of what’s going on as lead lines, counter melodies, sudden pauses, drum breaks and individual solos appear out of nowhere.

They’re also multi-instrumentalists, with each member integral to the sound of the group: they swap between percussion, guitar, saxophone, flute, keyboard, and vocal duties throughout the evening.

Despite being broadly labelled ‘post-punk’, the band straddle many genres. The as-yet unreleased ‘Costly Engineered Illusion’ sounds like The Clash taking on yacht rock, and may be their most radio-friendly effort to date. ‘Empty Cell’ combines afro-funk grooves with a no-wave saxophone crescendo, while ‘Image Craft’ and ‘Philosophers Calling’ propel the band forward towards the end of their set with precise motorik rhythms.

Though they centre around drummer/vocalist Zach Choy, the band operate as an organic whole. They’re all totally committed to their craft, leaving nothing to chance as they pour every ounce of effort they have into each individual note. It's truly an awe-inspiring evening.

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