Looking at the cover image of On A Passing Cloud, the debut LP from Louisville’s Murals, you get the feeing the band has maybe dabbled in recreational hallucinogens — it’s four guys, eyes half-mast, surrounded by (and covered in) flowers, wide blue sky behind them. Listening to the music only supports that notion: The whole thing sounds like a baked haze, caught somewhere between daydream and nap, listing, drifting.
The album comprises eight short songs (only one of which cracks the three-minute mark), but it’s been a long time coming. The now-quartet — Evan Blum (bass), Rob Monsma (drums), Jacob Weaver (vocals/guitar), and Hunter Presnell (guitar) — got its start as a trio after their high school graduation in 2006 (Presnell joined the group in 2009). Their debut was recorded in sporadic bursts over the last two years, beginning with the band sorting through cassette demos, and aided by a successful Kickstarter campaign from which they came away with $2,200 to produce the LP.
Whatever the reasons for the lag between formation and album, the time was not wasted. On A Passing Cloud is bursting with blissful psychedelia built for lazy summer days — bright and drowsy, steeped in fuzz, acoustic guitar, and echo; the songs are almost as gorgeously ephemeral as the album’s title suggests. There’s a folk base here, but it’s filtered through a technicolor prism of Tropicalia, Krautrock, surf-rock, psycillocibin. RIYL comparisons (and some likely influences) include Love, the Beach Boys, Yo La Tengo, Real Estate, the Glands, Girls, and of Montreal.
On A Passing Cloud contains only eight songs and pretty much every one is worth recommending; clear highlights include “Were You Dreaming,” “This Years House,” and the title track (especially that song’s instrumental second half). “Eyes Of Love” is the album’s most straightforward moment and its nominal single, but the band get better when they pay less heed to structure and just go weird, which describes pretty much everything else here (and even that song contains enough unexpected turns to keep things interesting). To be clear, though, none of it is obtuse or meandering; Murals make music that is foremost soothing, lovely, warm. And a follow-up should arrive shortly; the band claims to have “the bulk of a second LP already committed to tape.” Download “Eyes Of Love” below.
07/18 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
07/19 – Muncie, IN @ Be Here Now
07/20 – Chicago, IL @ Grandbar
07/23 – Cleveland, OH @ The Beachland Ballroom
07/26 – NYC @ Cameo
07/27 – NYC @ Pianos w/A Lull
07/28 – NYC @ Delinquency BLVD
07/29 – NYC @ Mercury Lounge w/Quilt & Young Magic
07/31 – Philadelphia @ Snyder Haus
08/01 – Washington DC @ The Velvet Lounge
08/02 – Richmond, VA @ House party
08/03 – Lexington, KY @ The Sidecar
On A Passing Cloud is available now via Murals’ Bandcamp.