Cloakroom favors longevity with newest sophomore album Time Well
Breathtaking and bold are just some of the words that can be used to describe Cloakwell’s latest album Time Well. Taking shoegaze and meshing it with a wide range of rock genres, Time Well is depressing, indulgent, and sophisticated.
The first track, “Gone But Not Entirely” is symphonic, with a tender beginning accompanied by sad guitar riffs that’s texturized by moments of moody electric guitar. The vocals are monotone are consistent in tempo, making way for anticlimactic but nonetheless pleasant harmonies. The overlay of low vocal tones sounds seductive, enough to lull a listener to sleep. All in all, the song sets the scene for what’s to come with the rest of the album. The singers’ guttural croons send shivers up a listener’s spine. Although it’s six minutes long, it doesn’t feel like a long song — it’s able to keep listeners enticed to continue to give their undivided attention till the end.
The second song, “Big World,” doesn’t fare as well as the first song, kind of falling short of expectations. It’s repetitive, slow, and tends to drag on. It’s super reminiscent of the band Basement. Overall, the song is just five minutes of no direction, little changes in vocal tone, and little instrumental drops. The chorus is saturated and predictable, making for a rather bland track. However, the consistent theme of being sad and inconsolable remains strong throughout this song.
The next track “Concrete Gallery” runs around a 6:20 time frame, but the listener will never realize how long the song actually is. It’s like Nirvana, ’90s grunge-heavy at first, then falls away to more alternative, Pearl Jam type progressive rock. Molding metal and alternative here seriously made for an amazing song. The vocals are haunting and the chorus is depressing and drones on, possibly drawing influence from the Cure while still keeping it very grungy. The vocals, like the other songs, are very consistent and eerie on this particular track. The guitar riffs at 3 minutes fit well with the monotone drawl about “never quite being able to break the spell”. This is such a depressing track; this is a song that you want to cry to over and over again. The last couple minutes of the song are heavy on the instrumental and minimal on the vocals and it’s super enthralling, especially when the electric guitar kicks in at 5 minutes. The transition is effortless as the vocals drone on and the instruments expertly blend together.
The fourth track “Seedless Star” is a powerhouse, angry and raw from the start to the end. There’s a heavy sense of angry post hardcore vibes, with the song sounding like early Citizen. The first minute is all instrumental, and the vocals are different here, more like a higher pitched soft whisper, rather than empty and monotone. The bass ties in so well with the particular theme of sadness that it’s actually thundering over the guitar. It almost sounds like the bass is actually the anxious heart of the singer. Then the bass falls away to the drums and the simple guitar chord placement, key in this song, makes for a wholesome chorus. The track is invigorating and worthy of head-banging to.
The next few songs, “Sickle Moon Blues,” “Hymnal,” “The Sun Won’t Let Us Go,” “Time Well,” and “The Passenger” are a lot more slow and mellow compared to the latter. Each song slower than the rest, some of these later tracks feel more like a filler song than anything. Lacking diversity and depth, they are not terrible songs, they are just consistently stagnant. There isn’t enough changing from song to song to keep a listener intrigued in the album. For “Time Well,” the tempo does pick up a little bit and the haunting vocals save the track. The uniform guitar strumming is playful and dynamic. The instrumental transitions are lush and inviting.
Time Well can be really mistaken for ’90s grunge but it has a sound on its own that’s a lot more raw, progressive and harsh. It’s long and some moments drag out longer than others, but for the most part, the album is worth a listen to.