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REVIEW: Crack Cloud – ‘Pain Olympics’ (Meat Machine)


In a sentence:

Although there’s plenty of interesting ideas, the manically busy debut from Crack Cloud ultimately goes down as an interesting failure.

Pain Olympics is the debut album from Canadian multimedia collective Crack Cloud, a group of people who met through various recovery and mental health support groups and programmes in Vancouver. The aim was to provide its members (the number of which varies but orbits around a core of seven) with an outlet to help with their recovery, but has actually turned out to be a lot more for the group.

Music video for ‘Tunnel Vision’

Pain Olympics is busy. Very, very busy. We move from songs that are joyful and uplifting like ‘Angel Dust’ to songs that are claustrophobic and uncomfortable to listen to like ‘Bastard Basket’. It’s a bit like a roller coaster with plenty of highs and lows, and there were moments where I felt exhilarated and then there were moments that made me feel sick. ‘Somethings Gotta Give’, in particular, and generally the intros to most of the songs, but after that it increasingly struggles to make an impact amid the chaos and becomes more difficult to listen to.

Music video for ‘Ouster Stew’

Film critic Mark Kermode has consistently said (and we’re paraphrasing here) that most reviews could basically just be boiled down to “it’s alright if you like that sort of thing”. That’s essentially the best way to describe Pain Olympics, and unfortunately it’s not for us. It simply has so much going on that it is impossible not to find something, no matter how small, that you would like in some way, but we did not connect with most of Pain Olympics at all, and for us it goes down as an interesting failure. That said, it’s clearly the result of a lot of effort into it and no small amount of talent, made by people who are very proud of what they’ve done and no doubt will go on to be very successful in whatever they choose to do next. Doubtless it will find its fanbase, and Crack Cloud deserve credit for that alone. (5/10) (David Allsop)

Listen to Pain Olympics by Crack Cloud here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

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