CLOAK/DAGGER-Lost Art (Jade Tree, CD)/Don’t Need A (Grave Mistake, 7" EP)

Cloak/Dagger continue to not fit any set niche while kicking out some brash music. Hell, they say as much on "Don’t Need A," which states "avoid classifications at all costs." Jabbing punk/post-punk/garage in various permutations. Do I use the words nervy or edgy too much? Probably, but it fits the bill here. The songs rock AND roll with authority but there’s almost an aura of nervousness, here, too much caffeine coursing through their collective veins. Not only in Jason’s vocals, but instrumentally, as well. The guitar is snakier, not relying solely on powerchords and generating a speedy gnarl. And while it was recorded at the same studio as their first album, "Lost Art" benefits from what seems like some tweaking in the production qualities–on the last album, the bottom end was a tad too prominent. There’s still a good amount of rhythmic punch but it’s not as claustrophobic-sounding. From speed bombs like ""Fast Food Dream," "Same Old Story" and "Deathbed Rebels" (and, truth be told, those aren’t the stronger tracks) to the moodier "Dead Town Beat" and "Lost Art" (both Hot Snakes-esque) Cloak/Dagger keep things moving with an appealing, energetic pulse. Add this one to my best of ’09… The 7" pairs the aforementioned "Don’t Need A" with two non-LP tracks–the fast and frenetic "Jesus Had A Twin" that moves seamlessly into the bashing "Twenty On One." Collect ‘em all. (Jade Tree: 2310 Kennwynn Rd., Wilmington, DE 19380, Mistake: PO Box 12482, Richmond, VA 23241,

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