Review Summary: What we have here is a surprising live album that has almost all of the soul and spirit of Cloud Cult’s live show. The accompanying tour features two complete sets, one acoustic and one electric. Go for the Acoustic, stay for the electric.
"Things were really dark there for quite a long time," Craig Minowa states as Transistor Radio comes to an end. If you've followed Cloud Cult through the years, you know exactly what he's talking about and it had to be pretty harrowing to say the least. But at this point, Him and the band have clearly turned a corner and are seeing the Light at the End of the Tunnel. The songs are brighter and more hopeful than ever. Though this has had one important downside. Songs like ‘We Made Up You Mind For You” have now been the victim of self-censorship. I don’t go to Cloud Cult for swearing in their lyrics, but it feels disingenuous to the memory of the time and place when the song was written.
Cloud Cult have usually incorporated an acoustic song or two into their live sets, but now we’re treated to what a full show (outtakes and all) would be sound like. While not every song seems have gotten equal treatment, there are some truly stellar reinterpretations of songs that date back to Aurora Borealis. Breakfast with My Shadow has been stripped down to its emotional core and cleaned up to the point that the original seems unfathomable to even put on a record. Running With The Wolves gets similar treatment and brings an early climax to a set list that generally lacks high-energy songs. This version has lost all of the distracting electronic and modulated elements of the original and left us with just the natural energy of the band doing what they do best.
There are a few outliers on this album that either slow it down to much or just don’t seem a good fit. Chain Reaction was on of my favorite songs on The Meaning of 8, but here its just too slow and has lost the energy of the original. Likewise, Complicated Creation lacks the punch and pace of the ‘Love’ version. That Man Jumped Out the Window, a song that has been a staple on my iPod is utterly forgettable here as well. Which is tragic, because it isn’t an overly complicated song that should have really benefitted from an acoustic treatment.
You Were Born
Running With the Wolves