Hailing from Montreal, Quebec is the duo, Majical Cloudz. The musical kinship between vocalist Devon Welsh (the son of actor Kenneth Welsh), and recent collaborator Matthew Otto began only two years ago on the release of their Turns Turns Turns EP, and has remained like the law inertia: in constant motion. However, there was a time when Majical Cloudz lacked the prowess that underground music junkies seem to favour. Welsh’s sound evolved from the indiscernible clutter of his first self-titled work, and all the other records that predate their 2012 EP (previously mentioned), and 2013 LP Impersonators. Initially, his style was misconstrued, fumbling between coherent gestures, and jarring intimacy. Luckily, Otto was able to hone Welsh’s powerful voice into something that could, perhaps, captivate an audience.
While Majical Cloudz’s music can be categorized as synth-pop, this is simply the backbone. Those who have cultivated a learned ear for sound can hear their music as confessional ballets, swashes of broken effect, sparsely aligned notes hanging above droning swoons. Not much for synth-pop, commonly known for its dance-heavy spins. Rather, like white noise, there is little to be deciphered when listening to this band, however minimalism is exactly what Welsh and Otto are attempting to convey. Likewise, they owe the success to their music to their embrace of simplicity.
This pivot away from songs like “Dream World,” which features only one good addition to the song, Grimes‘ beautiful airiness in the background, is an example of their change as musicians. Both Turn Turn Turn, and Impersonator have tracks, which convey an intimacy – a closely-knit symbiosis between the listener and the creator of these vulnerable songs – that allows a stranger, like you, or myself, to commune with Welsh. He allows an introspection into his thoughts, whether it’s about panic, death, or sadness.
In a nutshell, their music trusts the listener, and because of that, you begin to trust them, too. Here is an excerpt from “This Is Magic,” a single off of Impersonator that describes this trust, reciprocated back to the listener: “As I let my body go/I thought you should know that it’s been so fine/I’ve been fine.”
Their performances maintain a stripped effect, as well. During shows that usually hold small crowds, Welsh dispels cliche lyricism with direct openness. His voice, the harbinger of these desperate messages, tethers between nakedness and existential probing. Their music is dark, and inclined to throw the mind into a lucid trance. Essentially, “Don’t you want to be right here?” Welsh sings in the song “Mister.”
From “Bugs Don’t Buzz,” Welsh sings, “the cheesiest songs end with a smile/ this won’t end with a smile, my love/ bugs don’t buzz when their time approaches/we’ll be just like the roaches, my love.”
Majical Cloudz’s creative ability flows from a reservoir of rich storytelling, laden with crumbs of subtle morbidity – floating like algae on top of a murky pool; maybe that’s why Lorde took an interest in this band. In fact, they’ll be the opening act on her North American tour starting this fall.
If you’re a fan of passionate music that can lessen the gap between the crowd and the stage, you’ll definitely want to check out Majical Cloudz. Their two Canadian dates are September 11 at the Ottawa Folk Fest, and September 12 at TD Echo Beach. If you’re from outside the country, a full list of the tour dates can be found on Billboard.com.
If you’re impatient, here are Majical Cloudz’s official videos for both “Bugs Don’t Buzz,” and “Childhood’s End” to help pacify your uneasy waiting.
(Photo by Sarah O’Driscoll)