Impersonator by Majical Cloudz
I really wanted to hate this band, based on its name alone. Majical Cloudz? That’s the best you could come up with? And the PR push behind this album was so overbearing — it came up as the ad leading into all YouTube videos I watched for what felt like a 3-month span earlier this year — that added to my desire to not want to like them. But then I’d hear them on KEXP. Or maybe because I heard that one song in the ads SO many times it seared onto my brain and I just had to check them out.
Either way, here we are at #19, with a band and an album I actively wanted to dislike and couldn’t. I’m fairly certain you won’t like them. It takes a certain kind of person to tolerate this sort of stark emotion. If you’re a fan of James Blake, you might give Majical Cloudz a shot — but be prepared to go deep and long. There is no light, no happiness, no serendipity in this music.
Majical Cloudz is a duo from Montreal, comprised of Devon Welsh (singing and writing) and Matthew Otto (producing). The band was originally a solo project of Welsh’s. Otto joined him on an EP before collaborating with Welsh on Impersonator, his 2nd full-length album. I have not heard any of the prior material, and I’m not very compelled to go check it out.
I’m sorry. This review is terrible. Here’s an album I clearly like, at least well enough to put it in the top 20 of the year, yet can’t bring myself to admit to it. Part of me feels like this music won’t stand up to time. That in a year, I’ll look back and laugh to myself at the fact that it’s on the countdown at all, kinda like I did a couple weeks ago when I discovered that I put Alt-J at #2 on the Calendar last year. But that’s how music is. Some of it is fleeting, some of it sticks around. If you can figure out why that is, you’d be a rich man.
While you’re thinking about that, listen to some Majical Cloudz. They might point you in the right direction.
20. Dream Cave by Cloud Control
21. Mole City by Quasi
22. Phantogram by Phantogram
23. Julia With Blue Jeans On by Moonface
24. Uncanney Valley by The Dismemberment Plan
25. Event II by Deltron 3030
26. Wise Up Ghost by Elvis Costello and The Roots
27. Us Alone by Hayden
28. Pure Heroine by Lorde
29. Shaking the Habitual by The Knife
30. False Idols by Tricky
31. Let’s Be Still by The Head and the Heart