Cumulus released their 3rd record Something Brighter, on October 21, 2022 via Share It Music.
Cumulus is the creative outlet for musician Alexandra Lockhart, who’s past two albums have won wide ranging praise from the likes of Stereogum, Interview, Consequence, PASTE, KEXP, Brooklyn Vegan, Seattle Weekly, The Stranger, and NPR Music’s All Songs Considered who lauded the “straight ahead pop” found on her most recent album Comfort World. In tandem with the album announcement, Cumulus is also sharing the new single “Sunbeam,” a warm and inviting blanket of lush guitar tones that builds into a bombastic and bittersweet observance of the obstacles we can put ourselves through when we don’t feel fully deserving of love. It’s a mourning of the time wasted dwelling on the past, with an appreciation of how beautiful it is to be fully vulnerable and open to another human.
Something Brighter sees Alexandra a world away from the creative burnout she felt at the end of 2019. At the time, she had just wrapped up what would be the final leg of touring in support of the sophomore album Comfort World, and found herself questioning what might come next. Rather than pursuing stage lights at the expense of a personal life, Alexandra was craving stability and balance. Not an uncommon desire for seasoned musical artists at the end of an album campaign. Falling in love, and moving from Seattle back to her college town of Bellingham, WA made even the most basic life details nostalgic. All of a sudden she was separated from her bandmates, building an emotionally mature partnership with her soon to be husband, and was surrounded by the scenery that inspired her to become a songwriter over 10 years ago. There was something ripe for reflection in moving back to the town where her creative life began, in an effort to build something completely new.
With the distance between Seattle and Bellingham providing an insulating cushion, Alexandra was able to keep creative momentum moving by collaborating via email with her bandmate William Cremin. Simultaneously she was starting a new career, so working remotely made keeping music in her life more attainable and less daunting. Music felt less like business, and more about genuine fun and experimentation. In another shift, she abandoned the guitar for musical typing and midi loops, building confidence in her ability to flesh out a recording with only voice and keys, enough for William to understand her overall vision and add his arrangement and production ideas.
Fast forward a few months to 2020, and all of a sudden the world was paused in a surreal way. The language that William and Alex had developed by writing and recording remotely, was now a necessity and a lifeline. With more time to dwell on her thoughts than ever- Alexandra dug into the archives of her voice memos and Garageband recordings. Enlisting Andrew Vait as a co-arranger, co-writer, and lead producer, the demos started going via email from Alexandra, to Wiliam, to Andrew and coming back as fully realized songs- suddenly there was enough for a record.
Eventually, with a full album’s worth of songs and covid-tests largely available, studio time was possible. Andrew and Alexandra spent 3 days in the Hall of Justice, laying down vocals and tracking drums and guitars with bandmates Tom Fitzgibbon and Sebastien Deramat, Zooming in William as he and his wife were expecting their first baby.
Gratitude and the bittersweetness of learning from the past are in the undercurrent of every song on Something Brighter. What a beautiful thing to make mistakes and learn from them; to heal wounds, to love deeply, and to dance in your underwear. Despite being written and recorded during some of the scariest and darkest of times, these songs unequivocally reach for the light.