CLOAKROOM have become the godfathers of their hybrid of emo stoner doom over the span of their 5-year career. Exceptional songwriting chops, time spent in cultishly followed bands, and a vocalist with a lilting tenor have all expedited this ascension. On their 2nd full-length Time Well they seem to manage to best their previous releases and also lay claim to a spot alongside contemporary greats.
“Gone but Not Entirely” commences with a hypnotizing march which exhibits a nuanced yet tremendously powerful feel. When I first heard CLOAKROOM I found myself marveling at their unique melding of styles: thundering guitars, with a mid western, inflicted emotive drawl vocally. They use blending of ideas to stunning effect for the duration of Time Well.
Track 2 “Big World” was released as a single upon the group announcing their signing to RELAPSE records in the fall of 2017. The album version is updated and the change is jarring but what was a brilliant slab of contemporary rock music before, now is simply refined. And better. Current single “Concrete Gallery” lumbers with a memorable heavy motif but settles into a gigantic refrain which serves as the payoff after some cosmic post rock ambiance.
First single “Seedless Star” might be the band’s heaviest offering to date. The songwriting is sharp, nuanced and calculated. The performance of vocalist Doyle Martin (formerly of Doghouse records act Grown Ups) entrenches him further as a contemporary leader of heavy, stirring rock. His lovely voice never fails to mesmerize and is perfectly suited for this collection of songs and band.
“Sickle Moon Blues” could be the Indiana bands most overtly tuneful song. Among its tunefulness are moments of undeniable mastery for its 7 minutes and 17 seconds running time. Specifically, the pre chorus/chorus arrangement paired with some gorgeous sounding droning guitar will make the hair on the listener’s neck stand up. For those of us familiar with bassist Bobby Markos’ previous band Native, the fact this album is a complete package and total home run should come as no surprise.
“Hymnal” has the pacing of an ideal set closer. I’ve spent a week listening to Time Well and each of its 10 songs bid for the listener’s admiration with stark beauty and galactic sized weight. 2nd single “The Sun Won’t Let Us Go” has a memorable descending motif with a beautiful guitar solo break.
Time Well concludes with “The Passenger” which will surely be a centerpiece of the band’s live set for many years to come. There is a certain triumphant air to this track which seems appropriate given that the listener has just come out the other side of Cloakroom’s first of what is certain to be many classic albums.
Release Date: August 18, 2017
Favorite Tracks: Sickle Moon Blues, Concrete Gallery, Hymnal, Big World
For Fans Of: Hum, Torche, Saves the Day, Lifetime, Earth, Pelican, Jets to Brazil