Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offering: Cloud Rat’s Pollinator and Golden State Cider Company’s Hamaica Cider.
The Metal: Cloud Rat’s Pollinator
I like grindcore, but it feels like a mostly ‘meat and potatoes’ genre to me. When I crave that particular sound, there are lots of great bands that satisfy that itch, but very few bands I can look to that I feel really move the genre into new territory. On the short list of bands that I feel do something genuinely unique with grindcore’s formulae have always been Michigan’s Cloud Rat, and nowhere are they doing more to advance the genre than on their recently released third full-length Pollinator. While the first three songs get you ramped up with the kind of high-energy crusty grind you might expect, it’s the fourth track “Night Song” that really starts to reveal the tricks Cloud Rat has up their sleeves, introducing an ominous atmosphere dominated by lingering dissonant chords. Whether it’s darker moments like this or lead-off single “Webspinner,” or moments of triumphant melodicism like “Wonder” and “Last Leaf,” or the genuinely angelic intro of the slow jam “Luminescent Cellar,” Cloud Rat have a unique vision and a passion behind what they do, and this is what sets them apart from a sea of color-by-numbers grindcore bands; while most acts are content to turn grind into a ‘how fast can you blast’ competition, Pollinator is an album of carefully and artfully crafted music that elevates grindcore in an astounding way.
The Booze: Golden State Cider Company’s Hamaica Cider
It’s cider time again here, as the weather in Southern California is dropping to a practically balmy low 80’s here. We had a lot of fun with Golden State Cider Company’s Gingergrass last time, so I decided to pick up another variety from this company. Hamaica is brewed with apples, champagne yeast, and hibiscus flowers, all of which is right up my alley. I’m a sucker for anything hibiscus, and the interplay of the champagne yeast and the tart flower is a match made in heaven here. I wish I knew what variety of apple went into making this cider, but I have a feeling it was a sweeter red variety, because even with the aforementioned yeast/hibiscus combo, this isn’t quite as dry or tart as I would have expected. There’s just enough brightness there to cut through, but this is a much more balanced, middle-of-the-road cider than I was expecting, and I’m not at all disappointed with that. It’s almost like drinking cranberry juice, both in taste and in the balance of tart to sweet. Even if I normally associate hibiscus with summer, this feels like a decidedly fall drink, and in that way it’s perfect for tonight.
Cheers, and be good to each other,