Hearing Aide: Cycles ‘Vacation’

Oil canvas painting by Avery Cordray

Cycles is a three-piece band from Denver, CO that performs “psychedelic rock fusion” with a blend of other genres like jazz, funk, and more. The band features Patrick Harvey on guitar, Michael Wood on drums, and Tucker McClung on bass and vocals. They’re celebrating the release of their new album Vacation with a show at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom on Saturday, June 3. This new album comes a little more than a year after their 2016 EP Loads of Fun.

Vacation was masterfully recorded in Blackhawk, CO at Mountain Star Studio. There’s a high attention to detail with every note throughout as the band writes each song themselves. The title track on the album kicks off with a great instrumental build into the lyrics where McClung sings that “you’re just along for the ride”- the ride through this aural vacation of an album. “The Aloe Parade,” cleverly named after the post-beach sunburn remedy, features some funky bass techniques throughout that are sure to have listeners grooving along. Instrumental track “Green” sounds like a tune you want to have playing as you drive to a great vacation destination to somewhere open and scenic. 

Characterized by repetitive rhythms and clean doubling between guitar and bass, ”The Store” is quite unique with its various changes and phrasing. The listener doesn’t stay too comfortable in a mode before switching. The band artistically paints the picture of a day in “Twilight” with ascending chordal motifs in the first half of the song to show the progression of the sun, and descending motifs once ‘twilight’ hits, signifying the sun has almost set. To ruminate means to meditate or ponder. “The Ruminator,” a funky and slower jam, shows the process of pondering a situation or making a decision. The listener thinks the song is over about halfway through it, but the driving ride cymbal lets you know that the song isn’t quite done, showing a thought or idea changing its shape during the second half.

This album blurs lines between genres and takes listeners on a sonic journey. The album is quite symbolic inside and outside of the lyrics, and each song plays around in different modes showing the diverse capabilities of the group. It’s evident that they strive for variety in both their recordings and performances. This album accurately reflects the groups’ writing talents and individual musicianship as they manage to produce a full sound with just three members.

Cycles is hitting the road this summer on a tour appropriately called the “Summer Vacation Tour.” They’re set to hit many spots around Colorado and they’re branching out of state to Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Texas, and more. Try to catch them in action on the road!

 

 

Key Tracks: Green, Everything Must Go, The Call