Crack Cloud, Pain Olympics (Rough Trade)

More of a “collective” than an actual “band” (some would say “commune”, others even “cult”), Crack Cloud moonlight as drug counselors in their native Canada and many are recovering addicts themselves, but this is isn’t an Alice In Chains “we’re so dark and drugged out maaaan” kind of thing at all. As a matter of fact, CC’s proper debut is a colorful, bold, and incessantly eclectic mishmash of found sounds where genre means absolutely nothing and a “fuck it, let’s just go for it” mentality dominates. This is why you have free jazz freakouts living next door to warped pop nuggets living next door to strangely unembarrassing hip hip living next door to brilliantly warped pop ditties. A good portion of this record is just straight up fun. “Ouster Stew” and “Tunnel Vision” especially, and even on itchy paranoid crawlers like “The Next Fix (A Safe Space)” and “Angel Dust (Eternal Peace)” there’s a sense of cavalier joy lurking in the mix that can only be achieved when a band, collective, cult, whatever has achieved absolute artistic freedom.