Review: Cloakroom x ‘Further Out’ EP

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It was confirmed when indie collective Cloakroom released their promotional 7” single, “Dream Warden”, this past November that one of the Midwest threesome’s best weapons is smoldering distortion; they rock with mind-trampling shoegaze, taking a consolingly messy approach that drowns out your ears and fills the mind with cloudy angst from a strangely warm and familiar source.

Kurt Cobain would smile; Cloakroom’s nailed a similar, charming strain of grunge. The rarity of a product like that these days–minus the Nirvana-level rage–should be treasured. At the same time, they’ve fit the shoes of their ‘indie’ classification–with whiny vocals that occasionally pipe up beneath disheveled fuzz guitar, relishing their still-obscurity, and keeping an additional circle of dismally-natured, beanie-clad hipster kids close.

Further Out seethes with discontent from the moment “Paperweight” hurls its thrashing-but-downtempo drums at you. You can’t easily hear what lead singer Doyle Martin is saying; the little blather which we can make out, esoteric indie-speak in a blaring, temperamental setting: “Material space…one part paper, one part weight/ It was never my place…”. Sounds cool enough. And since Cloakroom’s prime objective seems to be drowning out the world around them, excessive clarity would defeat the purpose at hand, anyway.

The above, same kind of rebellion rocks through the bipolar “Outta Spite”–the track starts with a mellow trickle of electric guitar, soon exploding into a gust of voltaic fuzz and disorientation. It has kind of the same effect on your brain. Listen somewhere activity isn’t necessary.

When they’re not stringing deftly-emotive chords designed sans-lyrics for your own interpretive mind state (“Mesmer”) or pulverizing their drum set (“Starchild Skull”),  Cloakroom makes noise just for the sake of noise (see: “Moon Funeral”, “Deep Sea Station”)…and that’s what’s so blankly soothing about their technique. They deliver candid sadness, instrumentally, in numerous ways–with words or without; each track administers the same sedative.

While you don’t initially commit to a ten track-deep muddling of bleary self-doubt and sourceless agitation via amp blowout from the start of Further Out, the guys of Cloakroom take you there insidiously.

Buy it here, and check out “Lossed Over” below:

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