Cloakroom, Time Well (Relapse Records, 2017)

Somewhere between time and space, shoegaze, and doom, the band Cloakroom comfortably resides.  

I first found out about Cloakroom after seeing them open a show In the basement of Webster Hall. I was really pulled in by their ability to capture the sad melodies of bands like Pavement and Sebadoh but manage to have the dirty, heaviness, and thick guitar tones of a band like Burning Witch. Yes, Cloakroom immediately captured my attention. 

For their sophomore album, Time Well, the band picks up where they left off on Lossed Over and don't miss a beat. Cloakroom manage to mature but stay on the same track they've been on musically. This is their first album on Relapse Records which is a better fit than their earlier label, Run for Cover. Relapse seems to quickly be expanding their library to bring in more diverse bands from their older roster, which is almost strictly death, doom, and grind. 

If you're familiar with Cloakroom already, this album will fit right in for you. Here again are the dreamy soundscapes, Brian Busch's superb drum work, which sounds huge (think stadium huge); Doyle Martin's melancholic vocals, which can sound reminiscent of David Bazan (Pedro the Lion) work insanely well with his beautifully crafted guitar melodies and riffs; Robert Merkoff's syrupy bass that can drop in and explode into a song in the blink of an eye. If that sounds chaotic, you're right. With any other band it would sound so. But with Cloakroom it sounds precise and so calculated that it might feel like your mind was playing tricks on you. One moment there's a mellow bridge that paces on ever so steadily and then it booms into a heavy/space-like part that could be straight out of a hum record. Cloakroom is a band who definitely spends a lot of time planning every move carefully and methodically. 

Photo: Colin May

Standout tracks on the album include the more upbeat "Big World," the vast and dark "Sickle Moon Blues," and the sorrow-filled yet beautiful "The Sun Won't Let Us Go." 

Overall, I'd give this record a 8.5 out of 10, it brings new music to the table, and a few new ideas but also keeps the same formula they've used in the past. I'm excited to see what the future holds for Cloakroom. They are touring in October and you should definitely check them out if you have the chance. The songs translate really well live. 

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