New Sounds: Gray Clouds honor mom’s ’90s Plymouth Voyager and guitar-pop harmonies on ‘Minivan’

Sometimes the beauty of good music can be found with its simplicity. Gray Clouds, who are currently making a lot of melodic noise within Providence’s music scene, today dropped their debut album, Minivan, and the whole thing shines bright with pop sensibilities, catchy lyrics, and an overall presentation that’s very raw and harmonious.

Formed by ex-Sick Electric members Jimmy Poirier and Jack Farley — and rounded out by drummer Ben Murphy — Gray Clouds emit a noticeable departure from the former band’s rambunctious sound.

“After the breakup of Sick Electric, I felt somewhat of a void in my life,” Poirier tells Vanyaland. “We disbanded amicably at a crossroads that many bands reach when life gets in the way of playing music. After a few years without playing music, I eventually started writing songs again, and slowly started piecing a band back together. I gravitated towards musicians I wanted to work with and slowly realized that nothing felt quite as natural as playing music with my old bandmates, so one by one I forced them to join my band again. It took a couple years but finally made it happen for Minivan. I didn’t feel any attachment to the old band name and aesthetc, honestly I wanted something that had no expectation attached so we just named it something new. The music felt new as well, so it just made sense to do that.”

Minivan was engineered by The Cancer Conspiracy guitarist Daryl Rabidoux, who was also at the helm for Sick Electric’s sophomore album Death By Electrocution, and mastered by Sweet Thieves drummer Mike Viele, who served the same role for Sick Electric’s debut LP, Haywire.

Minivan came together in small pieces,” adds Poirier. “It is probably the most fucking annoying way to write a record, but we couldn’t justify the time or the expense of extensive studio time or writing all at once. So we did it in batches, sporadically writing and recording three songs at a time where we would do day sessions at Radar Studio in [Connecticut]. Through a majority of the recording we were a three piece, so there were several sessions of overdubs and guest musicians that took place during live sessions.”

The album’s title comes from something dear to Poirier’s upbringing: His mom’s early-’90s Plymouth Voyager.

“It played a major part in my upbringing and it was in the background of so many good and bad memories from growing up,” Poirier says of the whip. “It seemed like the perfect metaphor for the themes of the album, which is mostly about growing up. The recording process was tedious, poorly orchestrated and rusty. In the end, it has many shortcomings, but I’m truly happy with the songs. I think they are good songs and they are meaningful to me in a literal way. It’s very scary writing songs about real life, because it leaves you vulnerable, but then again, most people don’t pay attention anyway, so why not be vulnerable and write what feels good to write?”

Gray Clouds don’t have any shows announced as of now, but the new record should hold us over nicely. Listen to it via their Bandcamp page below.

Gray Clouds Art Full