Impersonator by Majical Cloudz on Apple Music

10 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Devon Welsh—the lead vocalist and writer of Majical Cloudz—is clearly possessed by something other than the need to express a musical viewpoint. “I’m a liar, I say I make music,” he claims on the title track to Impersonator. “I wanna feel like somebody’s darlin’” is one of his many personal confessions. Welsh and collaborator Matthew Otto work in an echoing, minimalist palette; songs like “Impersonator” are built on little more than vocalized loops with what might be a cello note stretched through the middle, and tunes like “Bugs Don’t Buzz” ring with stripped-down piano marches and Welsh’s forceful vocals. The open spaces are vast, with clicks and thumps and keyboard palpitations carefully weaving a frame around Welsh’s exhortations, which often moves live audiences to tears. At times his voice attempts a grand sweep of beauty, the way Rufus Wainwright’s does—but something snags Welsh during the ascent and brings him back down to reality, which clearly ain’t always pretty in his world. Whatever drives Majical Cloudz to make such starkly emotional music might not be pretty, but it can feel as majical as a double rainbow.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Devon Welsh—the lead vocalist and writer of Majical Cloudz—is clearly possessed by something other than the need to express a musical viewpoint. “I’m a liar, I say I make music,” he claims on the title track to Impersonator. “I wanna feel like somebody’s darlin’” is one of his many personal confessions. Welsh and collaborator Matthew Otto work in an echoing, minimalist palette; songs like “Impersonator” are built on little more than vocalized loops with what might be a cello note stretched through the middle, and tunes like “Bugs Don’t Buzz” ring with stripped-down piano marches and Welsh’s forceful vocals. The open spaces are vast, with clicks and thumps and keyboard palpitations carefully weaving a frame around Welsh’s exhortations, which often moves live audiences to tears. At times his voice attempts a grand sweep of beauty, the way Rufus Wainwright’s does—but something snags Welsh during the ascent and brings him back down to reality, which clearly ain’t always pretty in his world. Whatever drives Majical Cloudz to make such starkly emotional music might not be pretty, but it can feel as majical as a double rainbow.

TITLE TIME
3:10
4:26
3:48
4:10
4:12
3:43
5:15
2:51
3:21
3:19

About Majical Cloudz

Canadian electronic art pop group Majical Cloudz began as the solo project of Devon Welsh. His home-recorded lo-fi synth pop experiments and danceable pop songs made during 2010-2011 were collected and released by Arbutus Records in 2011 as II. The album featured guest vocals from labelmate Clare Boucher (aka Grimes) on a handful of tracks. In 2012 Welsh teamed with instrumentalist Matthew Otto to make Majical Cloudz a duo, and their sound expanded as well; the songs were built on expansive synths and understated rhythms, with Welsh's improved vocals and dramatic lyrics as the focal point.

Their first record as a duo, the Turns Turns Turns EP, was released by Arbutus in late 2012, and the far more minimal-sounding full-length Impersonator surfaced in 2013 on American indie label Matador. The album was a critical success, garnering praise from a wide range of publications and earning the band a nomination for the 2013 Polaris Prize. It also caught the ear of pop sensation Lorde, who invited the band to open on her 2014 North American tour. When their stint was complete, the duo released a Neil Corcoran-directed documentary, A Lot of Humans, for which they provided the soundtrack. All the while Welsh and Otto were working on the songs for the duo's second album, resulting in the equally plaintive Are You Alone?, which was released by Matador and Arts & Crafts in October of 2015. Just two months later, they released a 5-track EP called Wait & See.

In March 2016, Majical Cloudz announced that they were dissolving the band on what they considered to be a high note in order to pursue other projects, including solo work. They played a farewell concert on March 10, 2016 at La Sala Rossa in Montreal. A month later, Are You Alone? took home the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year. ~ Tim Sendra

  • ORIGIN
    Montreal, Canada
  • FORMED
    2010

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