See more of the story

After an already lengthy break made even longer by the pandemic, Cloud Cult is finally ready to return in 2022 with a new album and multiple concert dates, including its twice-delayed Minnesota Orchestra performances.

The Minnesota/Wisconsin orchestral rock crew — whose hopeful, connection-seeking songs could sound doctor-ordered this year — will issue "Metamorphosis" on March 6, its first album in six years.

The album's release is closely tied to the March 31-April 2 performances at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, featuring Sarah Hicks as conductor and arrangements from Andy Thompson (both of whom also co-helmed Dessa's recordings with Minnesota's biggest band). The group also confirmed tour dates through summer.

Along with Monday's album announcement came the release of a new Cloud Cult single, "One Way Out of a Hole." An artfully ambiguous video for the song, directed by the band's longtime visual collaborator Jeff D. Johnson, shows off the Hennepin Avenue Bridge in a new light, plus some other cites that Twin Citians may recognize.

"Are we all alone? / No we're in this together," Cloud Cult guru Craig Minowa sings in the crescendoing tune, which sounds heavily inspired by the pandemic. Or was it?

According to the press release for "Metamorphosis," Minowa started writing the album five years ago and was nearly done with it when COVID hit. He then wrote and re-wrote through lockdown, the release says, "allowing the world's events to influence his songwriting."

Here's hoping things are less eventful come spring so the band can fulfill all its upcoming shows. Tickets for the Minnesota Orchestra — upgraded from two nights to three due to ticket demand — are on sale via ($40-$96). More shows have also been scheduled in Lutsen (Feb. 12), Red Wing (Feb. 19), Duluth (April 20), Viroqua (April 23) and La Crosse (June 10), plus East Coast and West Coast jaunts are also planned for May and beyond.