03 Feb 2022 - Thorsten
Doomgaze, Shoegaze, Indie-Rock | Relapse Records | Release date: 28 Jan 2022
Somewhere in a non-existent universe there was a tiny bridge between the oeuvre of The Melvins and some faint and fleeting college-rock in the vein of “Walking After You” or “If You Could Only See” - a bridge that has been steadied and refurbished with some nice My Bloody Valentine-ornaments. Who built it? Cloakroom did! Why they built it? Because they can!
Reviewing records can be easy as 1,2,3 or complicated like trying to re-construct Busta Rhymes’ lyrics. On the one hand you can try to be too plain and simple and on the other is just a mountain of words which you have to sputter out in the right order. Thus I think a look at several different songs on Cloakroom’s new record will be best in order to stay in good chronology and still give a good overview of the record.
Let’s start with the opener ”Lost Meaning” which is certainly an interesting title as it can hint at and imply so many things – from “losing the idea or sense for something” to “losing one’s own meaning (aka identity)”. The latter is surely an intriguing thought for a band so decidedly “in-between”. The track itself is surely one of the harder ones on Dissolution Wave and it is also surely one indicator that one of the best comparisons for the overall appeal of and influence on Cloakroom was probably Hum, as there are clear parallels to their use of clean vocals over hard, distorted riffs.
Nevertheless, this Midwestern trio has probably also been influenced by other bands, emo and college rock bands to be precise. Here a listen to the third track, ”A Force At Play” will be a good use to spot these influences, as it sounds a bit like the vocal cross between Dave Grohl on ”Walking After You”, Tonic’s Emerson Hart and Adam Duritz (Counting Crows). The poppy guitar intro accompanied by those soft touches of bright, lofty drum touches is a really memorable thing, pretty catchy. That the three guys then deconstruct the song in the final 70 seconds is a good sign for anyone who thinks that Cloakroom might have gone soft on their new release. The final moments will contradict any of that nonsense.
The penultimate track ”Doubts” is pure Americana magic mixed with some Midwestern-Emo touches. The vocals are heavenly pure and totally in line with the looped sounds and the whole song transports this feeling of intimacy. In the Cloakroom-context this song is pretty catchy and for some it might be a reason to neglect this record, but please listen to the last track.
For ”Dissembler” does basically exactly that – it dis-assembles all the moodiness of ”Doubts” and punches the clock set on attack: With a lot of distortion and some swirling guitar-work in the background one could say that this is shoegaze on steroids. And that – in a way might be the best description for this record whose title seems to be a nod to one of the best loud-vs-quiet-pop-bands ever, to the Pixies and their track ”Wave of Mutilation”.
Yes, some people might consider this record a step back in the evolution of the band: shorter songs, less songs and less “bangers” - but in some way this is maybe their most concise work to date. And the fans will love it anyway, because Cloakroom re-affirmed their position on that aforementioned bridge and are now their own genre in a way, having earned their individual spot “in-between”, which is an amazing achievement in itself!