“Chasing the Light” an overly-effusive, yet still-potent story of Minnesota band Cloud Cult

book cover - chasing the light cloud cultMark Allister's upcoming book for university of Minnesota Press, Chasing the Light: The Cloud Cult Story is as enthusiastic a band history and biography as one could ask for. That's where the trouble lies: it's so enthusiastic, it's so positive, it's so very cheerleader toward the band that one has difficulty seeing any sort of objectivity within its pages. Case in point: new members' reasons for joining are explained, but very rarely is explanation given as to why someone left. There are as many former members as there are current members of the Minnesota band, and with the exception of Sarah Young, the cellist who left in 2011 to raise a family, the other band members who've left aren't really explained at all. It's inspiring, certainly, to read the story of a band that rose, bringing its ethics and vision to bear on a world unready for unflinching honesty and environmental stewardship, but the overly-effusive nature of the book -- ably supplemented by the dozens of pages given over to fan testimonials -- makes this seem less a history of a band, and more like an extended and well-researched Tumblr page. Allister has been granted plenty of access to Cloud Cult and their history, and quite obviously has created a very intimate and detailed portrait of a band that inspires some very deep feelings. When one sorts through the praise and the adoration of the author, and gets to the honest aspects of the band and what they've gone through, the story is no less inspiring, but certainly far less twee. The final chapter, "Your Show Starts Now," cuts through the treacle and manages to combine heartfelt honesty with factual truth that demonstrates exactly how hard a band like Cloud Cult has had to work for and maintain their level of success. If nothing else, Chasing the Light's value can be seen in these pages, and is well worth reading for that. Mark Allister's Chasing the Light: The Cloud Cult Story is due out in October from the University of Minnesota Press, and is currently available for pre-order.