Crack Cloud announce new album, Pain Olympics, out July 17th and share new single 'Oust'

Updated: May 15


"An arresting spectacle" The Guardian "To describe Crack Cloud as a band would be to undersell them" Q "Extremely intelligent and always looking forwards" The Quietus

Today, Meat Machine are thrilled to announce PAIN OLYMPICS, the debut album proper from Vancouver collective Crack Cloud. The follow-up to the group's critically acclaimed 2018 EPs - Crack Cloudand Anchoring Point - arrives July 17th. The band hit UK and Irish shores for a run of shows in November in support of PAIN OLYMPICS - please see further below for a full touring itinerary. The news is accompanied by an incendiary video for the record's lead single 'Ouster Stew', a jittery slice of punk funk that nods to James Chance. Watch the video for 'Ouster Stew' here: https://youtu.be/XaZHifM0qGo In the age of the individual, Crack Cloud offer something of an antithesis: a collective founded on community spirit and communal freedom. They have a philosophy, and one that they are not afraid to wear on their sleeves. While their anarchic, phantasmagorical visuals, heavy use of symbology, and seemingly never-ending cast of colourful collaborators have often invited cult comparisons, this really does the collective no justice. There is no apocalyptic death drive here; no cult of personality; no hierarchy of power. While frontman and lyricist Zach Choy is in many ways the face of the group, the collective is one founded on equality, and in his cryptic lyrical blending of poetics, polemics and personal experience, Choy is truly the mouthpiece of something far larger than himself. Nowhere else is this more apparent than on 2019 single, ‘The Next Fix', which rears its head once more on PAIN OLYMPICS. What begins as a caustic, claustrophobic account of addiction swells into a sprawling, euphoric hymn as Choy is joined by a choir of seemingly endless celestial voices. Less a cult then; more a church. Listening to this song or watching its accompanying self-directed video is a truly spiritual experience, and in its building, jubilant movement it offers a glimpse of Crack Cloud’s most vital message: using community to turn adversity into hope. This isn’t just bravado; its a story born of deep, personal experience. Crack Cloud operate on the frontline of Canada’s out-of-control opiate crisis, mobilising and organising in Vancouver’s harm reduction programmes. The group themselves have had their fair share of trauma, and the collective offers its members a vital vehicle for rehabilitation and recovery. As the tagline on the album’s back cover makes clear then, this is absolutely ‘based on true shit.’ While Crack Cloud are clearly not shy to bear the scars of their personal history, this album is a fundamentally forwards-looking one and offers an exciting portrait of a band in a moment of metamorphosis. Musically, the group have taken much of the post-punk and no wave influences that informed their aforementioned EPs and totally reinvented them through a sonic kaleidoscope of hip-hop, musical theatre, dance music and downright pop which allows them to explore a vast panoply of different emotional states. Sometimes, these influences are skilfully interwoven into a singular whole which simultaneously manages to be several genres in one and at the same time. Perhaps the best example is album highlight ‘Favour Your Fortune,’ which combines hip-hop sub bass with threatening tribalistic vocals in a way which evokes gangster rap and 90s Japanese outfit Seo Taji and Boys, before seamlessly exploding into a barrage of electronic hardcore that recalls the likes of Death Grips and Show Me the Body. It’s an outrageously ambitious track and affirms Crack Cloud’s position as real innovators of their genre. Elsewhere, the band make a blatant point of not hiding the sutures that sew this record together. Moods and genres are stitched together over and over in an endless game of Exquisite Corpse, and the record plays on this unpredictability to suddenly switch emotional states in a way that is totally disarming. The disjointed and fragmented structure of album opener ‘Post Truth’ holds a direct mirror up to the divided social climate that the album is born from, and the essentially fragmentary nature of truth in the hyperreal, postmodern era of algorithm echo chambers. As the track switches gears from punk to twinkling baroque pop to throbbing industrial and back again, a heavenly choir sing "we are all post truth" to a melody that could equally well have been lifted from The Sound of Music as from a '90s anime theme song. In the age of unlimited content, Crack Cloud take inspiration from everywhere with a hunger that is feverish. On album closer, ‘Angel Dust,’ Choy offers the clearest picture of the world that Crack Cloud are navigating in PAIN OLYMPICS. Suspended in between a past that "haunts us all" and a future that is"littered with doubt," we are all "locked in limb and space." Locked into our bodies, the pain that Crack Cloud are exploring on this album is not a disembodied one. It is social pain; it is mental pain; it is emotional pain. Ultimately though, more than anything, it is a real, bodily, physical pain. To live is to be engaged in a permanent pain olympics. As the sample at the end of its closer remarks, "the game of life is a misery." But accepting pain as the condition and affirmation of human life is the first step towards enlightenment. It is the first step towards hope, which is exactly what Crack Cloud are trying to offer their audience on this poignant, timely debut.


Crack Cloud - PAIN OLYMPICS // Meat Machine - 17/07/20

1. Post Truth (Birth of a Nation)

2. Bastard Basket

3. Something's Gotta Give

4.The Next Fix (A Safe Space)

5. Favour Your Fortune

6.Ouster Stew

7. Tunnel Vision

8. Angel Dust (Eternal Peace)







Tour Dates: Nov 17th | London, UK - EARTH Nov 19th | Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club Nov 20th | Glasgow, UK - Mono Nov 23rd | Dublin, IE - Grand Social Nov 24th | Manchester, UK - White Hotel Nov 25th | Newcastle, UK - Cluny 2 Nov 26th | Bristol, UK - The Exchange Nov 27th | Brighton, UK - The Hope & Ruin All shows go on sale Thursday, May 14th at 12pm Pre-orders: Pre-order Pain Olympics here: https://crackcloud.bandcamp.com/album/pain-olympics