Sometimes the most crucial and telling praise for an incredibly compelling pop/rock band finally emerging with a debut album after several years of alternately blistering and jangling camaraderie is from a fan that was there since the beginning.
In an insightful article on Athens-based foursome CLOUDLAND by Alexis Derickson in the local publication The Red & Black, student Susannah Kendrick – who graduated from the same high school as the band and attended their first ever backyard concert – is quoted. “I’ve seen the band evolve a lot. I’m excited for their new album coming out. . .You always know that anything they produce is going to be something good to listen to.”
Amen to Susannah’s truth about Where We Meet and the keen ability of CLOUDLAND – led by the edgy rockin’ yet sometimes Adam Levinesque falsetto cool of lead singer Zach King – to balance insight filled bursts of lighthearted, vocal harmony laden magic like “St. Elmo” and easy grooving “Restless” with punchy-crunchy, soaring guitar-driven jams like “Overthinking” and propulsive hypnotic (yet still harmony based) anthems a la “Where We Meet.” “St. Elmo” also offers us a bit of a geographic autobiography, tapping into the sheer necessity of friendship (or romantic connection) while mentioning several locales around their namesake inspiration, one of Georgia’s most beautiful state parks and a locale the band members have enjoyed camping in.
Also notable, their effortless musical camaraderie no doubt stems from a chemistry forged when they met in a middle school youth group, years before their formed the band. CLOUDLAND paved the way for the long awaited drop of the collection with four lead singles, including the bustling and soaring “Walking Away,” which finds them clinging to what are perhaps final slivers of hope even as they ask, “Did a dream just die?”; and the blistering barnburner “Lights,” an exhortation to live in the moment wanting “nothing more than what is coming into view.”
Beyond their extraordinary musical narratives, melodies and edge – and the trippy cover painting of two figures bonding arms between fire and the sun – Cloudland has a higher purpose in mind for Where We Meet. Also quoted in that article, Zach King says, “Our first and largest hope is that it helps people. . .We were really honest in explaining our struggles on the record, so if people can attach themselves to that, it would be really special.”