September 18, 2007
CLOAK/DAGGER [I] WE ARE [/I] REVIEW
The concept of youth has all too often gotten the shaft when it's come to modern punk. Tragic as it may be, the true epiphany of sadness is how current artistic interpretative trends create melodrama-tinged reality. There are those out there, however, that are actually diseased with the jaundice of youth—that which uses its fermenting of ego, blissful ignorance and optimism, however misplaced, to do something productive. This of course opposes the more profitable two chapter narrative of youngness that extends no further than empty bleacher make outs and broken heart-shaped sharpie tattoos. That said, Cloak/Dagger goes a long way to make the former a valuable contender by treading on some already sacred ground.
Cloak/Dagger are indeed what one clever dick might call, young Fucks—which, after not looking at that for a week and a half, doesn't sound nearly as clever as it did once before. While it's one thing to label their structuring and aesthetic as Swiz by way of Hot Snakes and leaving little else up for argument, one might remind the masses that, aside from riding a tide of oddball nihilism, hardcore has grounded itself in irrational youth. Cloak/Dagger is certainly riding the same back to basics wave alongside the cerebral Fucked Up and the muscled Cursed. And yet while the latter bands are more menacing and surreal in their ways, Fucked Up's newest labelmates are more rambunctious and delinquent. Riffs are emphatically blunt and skeletal as are the lyrics. The vocals are more reminiscent of the '90s-era San Diego school of panicky runt as opposed to the hulking '80s-era Hermosa Beach bark.
On the one hand one could say that, for the time, punk is running out of ideas. But, then again, there are always new ideas, they're just not that listenable at the moment. On the other hand, Cloak/Dagger at least have that listenability in them. Songs are quick, seemingly spontaneous and leave little room to sit back and ponder—which are the prime functions of most bare bones rock songs. There is a terribly inspiring element of fun in the band, the kind of fun that my curmudgeonly mentality—and the fact that most of my closer punk friends who don't hate me have gone hippie (or hipster) on me—has denied me from having for quite some time. And though I've not seen them live, the band could very well boil an audience's blood and create a wildly kinetic display of sweat, clenched fists and various other things that sparks a nostalgic streak on a typical hardcore kid at the diner right after the show.
Hot Snakes - Suicide Invoice
Fucked Up - Hidden World
The Bronx - The Bronx
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